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Mo. lawmakers fail to override veto


By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – An attempt by Missouri lawmakers to override a veto by Governor Jay Nixon has failed.

The Missouri House tried to revive a bill that would have created a special account for holding federal stimulus funds. It was sponsored by House Budget Chair Allen Icet (R, Wildwood). He says it would have provided much-needed oversight into how that money will be spent in Missouri.

"The problem is it gets co-mingled with that previous money," Icet said. "So when people say, 'Well what did you do with the new money you got from DC?', and the answer is, 'I don't know, it got co-mingled, I can't tell.'"

The bill passed during the regular session with overwhelming bipartisan support. But House Democrats this time sided with the governor in preserving the veto.

The vote was 85 to 68 to override; 109 votes, a 2/3rds majority, were needed.

Nixon says the bill was unnecessary because of similar legislation he signed into law last year. Fellow Democrat Jeff Roorda of Barnhart says the governor was right to veto the bill.

"It just seems to me like this is campaign year politics, and it doesn't seem like we're trying to do what's best for Missourians," Roorda said. "It seems like we're poking a finger in the eye of the governor for doing his job, for making sure that when he reviews legislation that it's constitutional."

The special fund would have been used to hold around $209 million worth of Medicaid reimbursements.

House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) wants to spend the money during the current fiscal year, while Governor Nixon wants to hold it in reserve for 2012.

The bill would have also given a legislative committee authority over spending federal dollars from potential education grants.