Recap: 2015 Veto Session

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State Senator Ron Richard (R-Joplin) made state history Wednesday when he recited his oath to become the first lawmaker to lead both chambers of the Missouri Legislature. “I appreciate my colleagues’ support, and I look forward to working with them today and next session,” Richard said in a Senate news release. “Over the last couple of years, we have worked well as a Senate to advance policies that create jobs and economic growth in our state. I intend to continue our tradition of honest, hard work in the Senate.”

The caucus promoted State Senator Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) to fill Richard’s spot as Senate majority floor leader. Kehoe began his new duties of setting up the schedule of bills to be considered by the Senate, setting the amount of time allotted for debate on legislation, and scheduling session meeting times and dates during Wednesday’s veto session. Read more.

What Happened?

Missouri legislators have wrapped up their annual veto session after overriding 10 vetoes by Governor Jay Nixon. The Republican-led House and Senate on Wednesday enacted laws banning local minimum wage increases and eliminating college scholarships for certain immigrants. They also voted to cut the duration of unemployment benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally. But the Democratic governor is questioning the legality of that action, because the Senate vote on the unemployment bill came four months after the House initially voted in May to override the bill. Republicans failed to override Nixon’s veto of a right-to-work bill that would have barred mandatory union fees in workplaces. The House vote on that fell short of the required two-thirds majority. Read more.

Austin Elected as House Assistant Majority Floor Leader

Representative Kevin Austin (R-Springfield) was formally elected by his caucus as assistant floor leader today just before lawmakers convene for a special session to consider overriding gubernatorial vetoes. Austin, a sophomore who chairs the Judiciary Committee in the House, will be working underneath Representative Mike Cierpiot (R-Lees Summit) who was recently elected Majority Floor Leader at the annual Republican summer caucus.

Together, Cierpiot and Austin will determine which bills come to the floor in the House and when, a powerful position for elected officials looking to climb the ladder. Austin, a Springfield Republican, is rumored to be weighing a run for the state senate. Springfield Republican Senator Bob Dixon will be termed out of office in 2018. Cierpiot called Austin a “great addition” to the leadership team. Read more.