Missouri legislature might try out new override powers during session

Lawmakers think they can override Governor Jay Nixon’s decisions to hold back money in the budget when they meet in three weeks, but the Governor isn’t so sure.

Voters approved changing the state Constitution so that when a governor decides to hold back money in the budget, the legislature could vote to override that decision and release it, just like it would when he vetoes proposed spending.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Kurt Schaefer believes the legislature will be able to use that power in the session that starts January 7.

“Once it becomes the law, which is as soon as the election results are certified, which is December of this year, that is the law of the state of Missouri. If the governor is continuing to withhold, then he is subject to an override by the legislature, under Amendment 10,” said Schaefer.

Governor Nixon says his office is still analyzing when that change will take effect.

“It’s hard to believe that it would be retroactive for actions taken last year,” said Nixon. “But we’ll look forward to sitting down and talking with them. It is important to know if they want to spend more money, then there have to be cuts so that the budget stays balanced.”

Schaefer thinks when considering what restrictions to overturn, legislators will first look at the things in the budget the governor vetoed, that the legislature later overturned the vetoes of.

Schaefer and House Speaker-designee John Diehl, Junior, have said the legislature will consider whether to use its Amendment 10 power after the session begins.

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Source: MissouriNet