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Mo House fails to override governor's veto of stimulus bill

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 15, 2010 - After more than an hour of debate, the Missouri House failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill setting up special accounts to handle the latest round of federal stimulus money that the state is to receive.

The final tally was 85-68 in favor of the override. That's 24 votes short of the 109 needed.

The bill had initially garnered support from all but three members of the House and won unanimous support in the Senate.

House members seemed most swayed by Nixon's argument that a portion of the bill in question, HB 1903, was unconstitutional.

Nixon also had maintained that the proposed new accounts duplicated earlier special accounts that the House set up for handling stimulus money.

The sponsor of the bill, outgoing state Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, argued that the new accounts were needed to prevent mingling with earlier federal stimulus aid.

Several Republicans also brought up the controversy over last weekend's film festival held in Warrensburg, Mo., that was financed with $100,000 in stimulus money. Democrats, while objecting to the festival, countered that the money that went to pay for it wouldn't have gone into one of the proposed new accounts anyway.  The state Department of Social Services is seeking to get the money back.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.