Gary L. Cross
As the kids head back to school and the Summer comes to a close, the attention of the legislature turns to the upcoming Veto Session. As I have mentioned in previous reports, the governor vetoed 33 bills and made line-item vetoes to hundreds of spending items in the state operating budget. His exceedingly large number of vetoes positions the legislature for an extremely busy session where we will carefully reconsider the merits of the bills we approved, but he found reason to oppose.
In past reports, I have talked to some extent about setting records or making history with the number of veto overrides we approve, but the truth is that these kinds of numbers donít really mean much at all. What is truly important is that we focus on the policy and what is best for Missourians from all walks of life. It doesnít matter if we override one veto or 20 if the bills we put into effect as law donít provide substantive steps forward for our state. Considering many of these bills were approved initially by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, I think itís clear that a large number of my colleagues agree that these pieces of legislation represent good, positive policy changes.
While some bills are more controversial in nature such as the extended waiting period to obtain an abortion or the gun rights bill to allow properly-trained school faculty to serve as school protection officers, there are many others the governor vetoed that generated very little contentious debate among legislators. A bill like the one to encourage donations to food pantries and pregnancy resource centers, or legislation to allow SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants to use their benefits to obtain fresh food at farmersí markets, serve as examples of the work we did that is meant to help Missourians around the state. These are issues we will carefully contemplate as we weigh whether to overturn the governorís vetoes.
Also important to note is that we will review each of the hundreds of line-item vetoes the governor made to items in the budget. These are just a few examples, but the governor vetoed new funding for reading programs for school kids, math and science tutoring, independent living centers, sheltered workshops, autism projects, newborn screening services, and for our area agencies on aging. These are just a few of the many, many vetoes he made for various projects. And while we know our budget is tight and we canít afford everything, we also know there are many items on this list that the state can afford to fund this year. With that in mind, we will move forward by examining each and every one of these items with the goal of doing what is best for the people of Missouri.
Again, this is not about winners and losers in the sense that the legislature is matched up against the governor in a veto showdown. The only winners and losers in this matchup are the people of Missouri. And make no mistake about it; we want our families and businesses in all parts of the state to be winners when it comes to the policies we put in place. Regardless of what the final tally is for veto overrides after September 10, all that will matter is that we did the right thing for the people of Missouri. I firmly believe we will.
I do appreciate your input on matters of importance to you, your family, and community. If, at any time, you have questions, concerns or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for Missouri citizens, please feel free to contact me at 573-751-1459 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking an active role by voicing your opinions on our state and national government issues.