A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

Missouri Republicans, Democrats chart different paths in response to veto-session results

In Region

10:59 pm on Thu, 09.12.13

The Missouri General Assembly’s nationally watched veto session has prompted sharply different reactions from state Republicans and Democrats, who both hope to capitalize on the results.

A GOP lawmaker says he's committed to launching an effort to change the state’s constitution through amendment, while the state Democratic Party hopes the controversial veto votes will prompt more campaign cash.

But both camps may be ignoring some key facts.

Todd Richardson
Todd Richardson

State Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced Thursday that he’s proposing a constitutional amendment that would curb the governor’s power to withhold money allocated in the state’s budget.

Richardson is among Republicans who contend that Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to withhold $400 million from the state’s current budget was political, and was used to sway school districts to pressure their legislators not to override Nixon’s veto of a tax-cut bill, HB253.

The governor, a Democrat, said he withheld the money because, if his veto was overridden, the current year’s revenue estimate – used to create the budget – would be too generous, since some budget experts have contended that HB253 could cost the state up to $800 million a year in income.  By law, Missouri state government must end its fiscal year each June 30 with a balanced budget.

Jay Nixon
Jay Nixon

Nixon said the $400 million in “withholds” was a conservative sum. He released the money on Thursday, a day after the General Assembly failed to override his veto.

Richardson, deemed an up-and-comer in the GOP,  wasn’t specific on how his proposed constitutional amendment would be worded. But he said his aim would be “to clearly define the governor’s authority in regard to his ability to withhold funding appropriated by the General Assembly.”

The legislator says he will file a joint resolution when the General Assembly returns in January, in hopes of getting the Republican majorities in both chambers to place the proposal on the 2014 ballot. If passed by both chambers, a joint resolution doesn’t need a gubernatorial signature.

Richardson said he plans to file his proposal on first day of bill pre-filing, on Dec. 1. He already has lined up a Senate sponsor, fellow Republican Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City.

“We have waited and waited for the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue and during that time the governor has continued to ignore the boundaries of our constitution by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars while our state has a budget surplus,” Richardson said. “I believe the Missouri Constitution is clear in limiting the governor’s withholding power to times of emergency or funding shortages, but he has continued to challenge that limitation to the point we now lack clarity on this important issue.”

Richardson wasn’t in the General Assembly when the last three Republican governors – Matt Blunt, John Ashcroft and Christopher “Kit” Bond – often used “withholds’’ to make their own fiscal or philosophical points. 

Republicans who controlled the General Assembly during Blunt's tenure rarely complained. (Democrats were in the majority when Ashcroft and Bond were in power, and often did complain about the "withholds.")

Democrats hope veto session wakes up donors

Meanwhile, the Missouri Democratic Party hopes some of the governor’s vetoed bills – most of which originated with Republicans -- will prompt supporters to give the party more money, in hopes of reducing the Republican Party’s huge 2-to-1 edge in the General Assembly.

Roy Temple
Roy Temple

“If yesterday's spectacle in Jefferson City taught us anything, it's that having strong Democrats in Jefferson City matters to the future of Missouri,” wrote new Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple in Thursday’s email blitz for donations.

“The Republican-led General Assembly proved how out of touch they are with mainstream Missourians by bringing up votes on House Bill 436 (Gun Nullification), House Bill 253 (GOP tax scheme), Senate Bill 267 (Sharia Law), and Senate 265 (Agenda 21),” Temple wrote.

“These bills don't help Missouri families but they certainly demonstrate that the Republican-led General Assembly is controlled by the most extreme elements of their party,’’ he continued.

“Fortunately, our governor and Democratic caucuses were able to stop these bills from becoming law…. But we need more Democratic legislators in Jefferson City to aid in the fight against the Republican Party’s misplaced priorities…”

Temple’s missive fails to note, however, that the Republican majorities in both chambers are so large that it took a few GOP defectors in the House and Senate to prevent the overrides of the bills that he mentioned. The GOP could have overridden Nixon's vetoes without a single Democratic vote.

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home