(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers are convening Wednesday to consider overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of 29 bills and four budget items. The agenda includes bills cutting taxes and nullifying some federal gun-control laws. Here are five things to know about the Missouri veto session:
1. BACK SO SOON? – The Missouri Legislature wrapped up its regular session in May. The Missouri Constitution states lawmakers “shall automatically reconvene” on Wednesday during the second full work week of September. Lawmakers in past years have wrapped up the veto session in a single day but have up to 10 calendar days. Missouri law says overridden bills take effect in 30 days unless the legislation specifically sets a different date.
2. NUMBERS AND POLITICS – An override requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, which the Republicans currently possess. A House leader has said his preference is overriding every veto but that seems increasingly unlikely. How well GOP leaders hold together their bloc could affect the dynamics between the Republican-led legislative branch and the Democratic-led executive. Passing legislation takes 82 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate, and overriding a veto bumps the number to 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate. There are 109 House Republicans and 24 Republican senators.
3. AN HISTORIC SESSION – The high mark for veto overrides was set in 1833 when a simple majority was required and legislators overrode a dozen vetoes of bills granting divorces. Since the requirement for a two-thirds majority was implemented, the single year record of three overrides was set in 2003 when Republicans overturned Democratic Gov. Bob Holden on bills allowing concealed gun permits, restricting lawsuits against gun manufacturers and requiring a waiting period for abortions. Nixon was overridden in 2011 on legislation setting new congressional districts and last year on religious exemptions from insurance coverage of birth control. Nixon would become the most overridden governor in recent Missouri history with two veto overrides this year.
4. COME FOR AN OVERRIDE, STAY FOR THE FOOD – Vetoes are the primary focus but bringing up to 196 lawmakers to Jefferson City attracts some ancillary activities. The House is likely to choose Republican Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg, to be speaker pro tem after Jason Smith was elected to Congress this year. House Republicans also are meeting privately Tuesday and Wednesday and will decide a contested intra-caucus battle for the GOP’s speaker-in-waiting designation for 2015. Several of the Legislature’s committees also have scheduled hearings around the override session, and political fundraisers and social events also are likely.
5. CAMPAIGNING TO WIN – Nixon has campaigned for several months in defense of his vetoes, particularly the one that spiked an income tax cut. Supporters of the tax cut have countered with TV ads and nearly $2.4 million in financial assistance from retired investment firm executive Rex Sinquefield. They also have backing from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who targeted Missouri with TV and radio ads recruiting businesses to Texas and headlined events in the St. Louis area sponsored by groups pushing for an override. On the gun legislation, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster has raised concerns about attempting to nullify some federal gun laws, and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is co-sponsoring a planned a rally outside the state Capitol shortly before Wednesday’s veto session.