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Nixon focuses on lesser-known dead bills one week before veto session

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon's preparation for the annual veto session included telling reporters Wednesday why several of the vetoed bills should remain dead.

He spent time discussing bills that have gotten less publicity, which includes HB 1870. It contains language that would allow some businesses to ignore the federal E-Verify program if using it would "result in a substantial difficulty or expense.

"It is a common sense measure to prevent the use of illegal workers by those Missouri businesses, and oh, by the way, E-Verify is free," Nixon said. "Do we really want to make it easier for businesses to hire illegal workers and get government contracts? So you have to ask the sponsor and the legislators who supported this bill that would do away with this safeguard, 'does this bill help Missourians or hurt them?'"

He also criticized House Bill 1733, which contains several provisions related to motor vehicles. One of those provisions would create a pilot program to test automated long-haul trucks on Missouri highways.

"They (would be) using some sort of wireless or radar technology for braking or accelerating ... one driver, two trucks, 60 yards (of vehicles)," he said. "The safety and reliability of this technology remain unproven, so Missouri highways would be the testing grounds, and other drivers the guinea pigs. If you drive in Missouri and this bill becomes law, you'll likely find this to be both annoying and unsafe."

Most of the attention for this year's veto session has focused on potential efforts to override vetoes of legislation to require photo IDs to vote in elections and on a wide-ranging gun bill that would create a "Stand Your Ground" law in Missouri. There are also three bills to create new tax breaks that Nixon has nicknamed "budget busters."

Some Republican lawmakers have said on several occasions that Nixon, a Democrat, is the "most overridden governor in Missouri history." He jumped on that label when asked about it Wednesday.

"If they want to add to their statistics by jacking up fees on licenses, they ought to be (held accountable) for it," he said. "Don't let them use as an excuse that they've got the numbers to do this stuff if it's bad policy ... Is the record of having more times overridden me more important than their philosophy of small government? Is their hunting for a statistic fair when people are paying more for licenses, swerving around trucks on (highways), stuff is hidden from public records, (and) conflict of interest laws for county commissioners are gone?"

Missouri's 2016 veto session is scheduled to begin at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.