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Veto Session Winners and Losers


Legislative Authority.

While practically it makes sense for the Governor to withhold the money included in his veto overrides, it still asserted the legislature’s position against the Governor in the budgeting process, and may lead to future assertions of legislative authority such as Sen. Dixon and Rep. Haahr’s bill from last session dealing with appointments.


Rep. Todd Richardson.

Speaking of curtailing the power of the Governor, the constitutional amendment he has proposed to place restrictions on the Governor’s withholding of education funds looks much better after the events of this week.


Sen. Ron Richard.

Some felt that a former Speaker of the House would be PQ happy when elected Floor Leader in the Senate, but he has used restraint and only used it on the last vote of veto session of the 2nd year of session, and only then under what some felt were justified circumstances.


Sen. Tom Dempsey and Speaker Tim Jones.

Again this year, they were able to hold their super majorities together and override the Governor on several bills they passed last session. Keeping such large caucuses together is an amazing feat.


MATA and the AFL-CIO.

Sometimes not being under assault is a victory, and neither group was in the line of fire this veto session. It could be that some of their work to broaden their base of support is paying off.


The Department of Labor.

Of the bills that looked likely to be overridden, the bill to shorten the number of weeks that unemployment insurance is available died in the House. The bill would have put a large strain on the department’s antiquated – nearly DOS (think the computer Ferris Buehler used) – computer system, and might be a sign to some that relationships matter.



They once again showed that if they have a bill they are solidly behind they have the support to make it law. As President Clinton said, “look at the arithmetic,” and when you do it shows that Missourians overwhelmingly elect pro-life legislators, and this week, they voted that way.


The Giddens Group.

They were the primary lobbyist for the captive deer lobby, and took the issue from a completely obscure issue to one that was passed in two bills during session, and a veto was overrode in the Senate and came within one vote of being overrode in the House – feats that no one thought possible.


Don Bedell and big donor conservation supporters.

The power of the purse is a big deal, and since the legislature lost that power over conservation they have had a strained relationship, and would have certainly been defeated last week without the very active involvement of Conservation Commissioner Don Bedell and other large donors who are also supporters of the department. The big question for next session is does Bedell choose to compromise with the deer industry or allow the department to regulate them out of business and have this battle again next session?


Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

Senator Chappelle-Nadal frequently speaks on the floor, but her much anticipated speech at veto session lived up to the hype and was one that listened to by nearly the entire Senate and press corps.


Possibly the Missouri Republican Party.

A column by Steve Kraske in the Kansas City Star has given Republicans renewed hope to capture the Governor’s Mansion for only the second time in 24 years. Republicans start the campaign as under dogs to Attorney General Chris Koster, but if Kraske is right and Senator McCaskill runs for Governor, they start as clear favorites, provided they can manage not to “Akin” themselves again.



The senate.

Anytime the Senate has to PQ a bill, it’s a failure of leadership by the entire body, and this time was no different. Senator Pearce’s impending departure seemed to change the way the Democrats approached veto session, and they didn’t believe last year’s deal that was widely praised as an accomplishment of the institution included veto session. Typically, the majority is blamed for being lazy, or bullying the minority when a PQ results, but this time may have been the exception where outlying factors justified their decision. Looking forward, you wonder how forcing this PQ will effect the ability to do future deals like last sessions.


The pro-choice lobby.

Veto session just confirmed the arithmetic most knew before, that they are drastically outnumbered in the General Assembly. Now that a PQ was forced on this bill, it could embolden pro-life legislators to be more aggressive if they feel they are going to have to PQ all pro-life legislation in the future. They may go much bigger next session if they have no reason to negotiate to avoid a filibuster.


Captive deer supporters.

Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, and they came as close as you can come to getting out from under the thumb of the Conservation Department, but when Rep. Roorda switched his vote as the board closed, it may have sealed their fate. We hear the major donors who were their undoing may force the Department to compromise with them, but if they don’t they may to turn to the courts to stay in business.


Right wingers.

The captive deer bill was inside the Dairy Bill, which was carried by Rep. Casey Guernsey in his legislative swan song. They proved why they struggle to actually change policy when Reps. Pogue and Marshall cast deciding votes against the bill. Rep. Guernsey has been a consistent supporter of legislation of theirs that was much more questionable than the Dairy Bill, but that loyalty was nowhere to be found when they needed him.