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Bill to create federal stimulus oversight committee vetoed

Gov. Jay Nixon (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Among the bills vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon this week was one that would have created a committee to examine how Missouri is spending its federal stimulus money.

The bill would have authorized a four-person joint House-Senate committee to look over projects funded with federal stimulus dollars, to make sure the money is not going to waste.

State Representative Jason Smith (R, Salem) sponsored the bill.

"There is not a committee out there that is truly watching for waste, fraud and abuse, and this was the only aspect of getting that, and it was vetoed," Smith said.

In his veto letter, Governor Nixon says the State Senate has already passed a resolution (SCR 27) creating such a committee.

However, the resolution's sponsor, State Senator Scott Rupp (R, Wentzville), says it was set up to study ways to access federal grants provided through the stimulus plan, not to provide oversight.

But Scott Holste, Governor Nixon's Press Secretary, maintains that the bill wasn't necessary.

"The governor and his staff believe that in the bills and resolutions that have been passed previously this session that there is appropriate safeguard for oversight and transparency and accountability," Holste said.

Holste cited legislation signed into law in March that created two accounts designed to keep track of the state's federal stimulus money.

Holste also says the veto was triggered by a provision that would have allowed every lawmaker to have a key to the interior of the State Capitol Dome.

Nixon cited that provision as a prime reason for his veto, saying that it represented a safety risk.