JEFFERSON CITY -While certain legislators question some of Gov. Jay Nixon's vetoes, legislative leaders say they expect none will be overridden by state lawmakers Wednesday.
The Missouri General Assembly will begin their veto session Wednesday. While the Governor vetoed 22 pieces of legislation following the legislature's session earlier this year, both Republican and Democratic legislators doubt enough votes exist to override any of the vetoes.
The issues mentioned for possible overrides include repeal of the motorcycle helmet requirement for adults and a requirement that the administration provide a key to the top rotunda of the Capitol to every legislator.
"I can't see the point in stirring it up just to stir it up," said the Senate Republican Leader -- Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington. Currently we don't have enough votes to override, but "I would be glad to vote if someone could show me we had enough."
In the House, Republican and Democratic leadership agreed with Engler's assessment. "Nothing's probably going to rise to that level," Republican Speaker Ron Richards said.
To reach the amount of votes necessary to override a veto requires an issue people feel strongly about, said Democratic Leader Paul LeVota, D-Jackson County. "I can't anticipate an issue decisive enough to bring enough people."
Under the Missouri Constitution, a motion to override the Governor's veto has to be approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate. Five veto overrides have occurred in the last 50 years, according to the Secretary of State's office.
The rotunda-key bill includes several provisions to expand legislative review over federal Stimulus Act funds.
In his veto letter, Gov. Nixon said safety concerns relating to the existence of "more than a hundred additional keys" to the rotunda was the reason for his veto. Other laws have already established the accountability and oversight put forth in the bill's first two provisions, Nixon wrote.
"It's the attic of the building," said Capitol Police Chief Todd Hurt. It's not designed for large groups of people. If someone becomes hurt or injured in the area, there is no way to get them down, he said adding that former Gov. Matt Blunt vetoed a similar law.
Some legislators, however, still question Nixon's concerns.
"If that was the reason (for the veto), I'd be very surprised," Engler said. They just don't want oversight on the stimulus money.
Differences exist between the similar laws cited in Nixon's letter and what this bill proposed, said state Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, sponsor of the original bill which passed the House 143-10 and the Senate 33-0.
The purpose of the stimulus oversight bill the governor signed is to find the maximum amount of money the state could receive, Smith said, noting that his bill would give an oversight committee subpoena power and the ability to monitor individual agencies.
The original bill would have also required daily reporting of Nixon's withholdings, not just spending, Smith said.
The Governor's office would be willing to work with Smith on this provision, said the state budget director, Linda Luebbering.
"It's a cop-out," Smith said of Nixon's reason for the veto. No one cared about the dome keys, he said, except for state Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, who added the dome-key provision into the bill.
"I vote for a $24 billion budget, and I can't get a key to the men's room," Crowell said. "I will put this on every bill I possibly can until I find one the Governor can't veto."