The month of September was a busy month as another veto session is in the books. Members of the General Assembly gathered in Jefferson City on September 13 for the constitutionally mandated session. Veto session presents House and Senate members the opportunity to attempt overrides of any vetoes issued by the Governor on legislation from the legislative session that ended last May.
As mentioned previously, Governor Mike Parson issued more than 200 line-item vetoes on budget items, which included many infrastructure, construction, and capital improvement projects around the state, with many located in St. Charles County. Parson had informed members of the General Assembly that the vetoes were necessary in order to maintain a balanced budget throughout the current fiscal year, even though the state is sitting on a record budget surplus. With current tax revenues remaining flat, Parson believes cautious spending is in order to prevent budget shortfalls down the road.
House members wasted little time once the session began to successfully override 14 of Parson’s vetoes, promptly sending those overrides to the Senate for their consideration. However, when the Senate gaveled in, Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough informed his colleagues that he would not take action on any of the Governor’s vetoes, thus ending the 2023 veto session with no veto overrides.
House Republicans met prior to the start of the veto session to elect their next Speaker of the House. Jonathan Patterson, who is the current Majority Floor leader, was chosen by his peers to lead the chamber beginning with the 2025 legislative session. Patterson, who is a physician from Jackson County, will continue in his role as floor leader during the 2024 session before taking over the role of Speaker in January 2025 as current Speaker Dean Plocher is term limited.
Governor Mike Parson held a flurry of ceremonial bill signings in his Capitol office and throughout the state throughout the month of September, giving supporters and sponsors of various pieces of legislation the opportunity to speak about their bills alongside the Governor. All legislation passed during the 2023 session became law on August 28 – unless the legislation provided for a later effective date.
The makeup of the Missouri Supreme Court has changed as Governor Parson recently appointed Kelly C. Broniec to a seat on the high court. Broniec had been serving as chief judge of the Eastern District of Missouri Court of Appeals. She replaces retiring justice George W. Draper III, who was appointed to the spot in 2011 by then-Governor Jay Nixon. Draper stepped down after he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. The appointment of Broniec is historic as it marks the first time the majority of judges on the court are female. Judge Patricia Breckenridge will also announce her retirement soon as she will reach retirement age in October. The Missouri Constitution requires judges to retire by age 70, or they automatically forfeit their pensions.
Next on the Capitol calendar is the Senate Republican caucus in early November, where they will attempt to prioritize their legislative agenda for the next session. Prefiling of bills will begin on December 1. We will continue to keep you updated of any political happenings in Jefferson City and around the state. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.