House representatives override vetoed measures

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JEFFERSON CITY - (This story is developing and will be updated.) The Missouri House of Representative overrode several of Gov. Jay Nixon's vetoes Wednesday.

Several of the overrides are related to Missouri health care funding.

House Speaker Tim Jones led a vote to override a line-item veto of funding to provide forensic exams for physically abused children, with a vote of 138-21.

"These dollars will allow for forensic exams for approximately 2,000 abused children, which will be of great assistance in making certain we get accurate information that will allow us to better protect these young people," Jones, R-Eureka, said. "I was deeply disappointed to see our governor stand in the way of this funding, but thrilled to see my colleagues rally together to protect the young people of our state."

Lawmakers also overrode the governor's line-item veto for additional funding for autism research projects. That motion would provide $300,000 for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Unit at Washington University and $1 million for regional autism projects. The House approved the motions with votes of 130-28 and 132-20, respectively.

Another override involves the governor's veto of funding to start a dental service pilot project in one of Missouri's rural health clinics.  The motion was approved by a vote of 121-36.

"We have a shortage of dentists in many of our rural areas and too many young people who are unable to receive proper dental care. By overriding the governor's veto we can put our state on a path toward ensuring the children of Missouri receive the dental care they need," Jones said.

The House also overrode a veto of funding for Community Health Access Programs (CHAPs) by a vote of 123-34.

"This is a worthy program that helps to ensure Missourians receive care from appropriate areas rather than relying on expensive emergency room visits. The program has the potential to help lower health care costs for all Missourians while giving more people access to quality, affordable care," Jones said.

Other overrides include vetoes of funding to reduce inefficient use of emergency room services by Medicaid recipients, as well as funding for a health record system for Missouri's foster children.

In addition, the House overrode a veto of funding for Missouri's Area Health Education Centers that work to grow the state's health care workforce.

Public safety issues were also on the override list.

One bill provided funding to purchase defibrillators for the Missouri water patrol. Another would authorize nearly $942,260 million in funding for the state to take over the Independence Crime Lab. Lawmakers also overrode a bill to provide $4.1 million in funding for new software to provide emergency preparedness plans in Missouri schools.

In addition, the House overrode a veto for funding of services to assist sexual assault victims by a 135-18 margin.

"The governor's misguided spending priorities threatened to do further harm to women who have been the victims of sexual assault, but the legislature was ready and willing to stand in defense of this vital funding," Jones said.

The House also overrode a veto of additional funding for Missouri's public defender system.

"We know our public defender system is overworked and overwhelmed with the number of cases, but the governor continues to ignore this problem," Jones said. "That is not the case here in the Missouri House where members of both parties came together to provide these much-needed dollars to the men and women who work so hard to make sure justice is carried out."

Representatives also overrode several issues related to Missouri children.

One provided for additional funding for pilot alternative schools in Columbia and St. Louis.

Jones said, "While the governor felt it was appropriate to deny hundreds of young people the ability to obtain a quality education in a safe, nurturing environment, the legislature strongly disagreed and stood in defense of these at-risk students who deserve the opportunity to get on track for future success,"

Representatives also overrode a line-item veto that would provide funding for forensic exams for physically abused children.

In addition, an override motion of a veto of funding for services for families with children suffering from asthma passed by a 118-38 vote.

"The governor had the opportunity to approve these much-needed funds that will help thousands of young people suffering from asthma, but chose instead to put his priorities in other areas," Jones said. "My colleagues and I in the House are proud to provide these families with the assistance they need to ensure their children lead happy, healthy lives."

The House also overrode vetoes of funding for two pilot programs by wide margins. One vetoed program is for foster care in the St. Louis region while the other is a hands up program that provides assistance to individuals receiving child care benefits.

"These funds will provide better care and a better overall level of health and well-being for children in our foster care system. This is a program that deserved the support of a governor who was apparently unwilling to make an investment in the young people of this state," Jones said.

Other overridden vetoes include funding for intervention and mentoring programs for at-risk youth, funding for foster parent training, funding for social project grants aimed to reducing the cycle of child abuse, funding to help low-income students afford the cost of AP testing and funding for a reading instruction program in struggling school districts.

In addition, representatives overrode two vetoes related to Missouri inmates.

Nixon vetoed a bill that would provide $363,279 for substance abuse treatment for inmates and $100,000 for mentoring programs for children of inmates. House members overrode the substance abuse veto with a vote of 128-32 and the mentoring program 127-34.

"As we look to put incarcerated individuals on the road to being productive members of society it is imperative that we help them break the cycle of substance abuse. This is a wise investment of taxpayer dollars that will promote the public good," Jones said of the substance abuse veto.

An additional override by the House centers around citizens with low income.  The veto of funding for a program providing assistance to low-income Missourians in paying their utility bills was overridden by a 127-28 margin.

The House also overrode several issues related to senior citizens.

One was for funding for services for Missourians with Alzheimer's, another involved funding for Missouri's Meals on Wheels program and a final veto was for funding for independent living centers.

Additionally, the House overrode several vetoes of school-related funding. One veto was of funding for school safety grants to better prepare Missouri schools to respond in emergency situations. Another involved funding to train teachers to serve in the state's high-need areas. Additional vetoes include funding for a math and science tutoring program in St. Louis and funding that would allow additional school districts to participate in the Bright Futures Program. 

Finally, the House overrode vetoes of funding for Missouri's sheltered workshops, funding for services for the hearing impaired and funding to provide additional staffing for the Office of Child Advocate.