Lawmakers return to Capitol

The halls of the State Capitol have been mostly quiet since the Legislature adjourned in May, but the building will come alive for a few days, beginning Sept. 9. On that date, we return to Jefferson City for a constitutionally mandated veto session, as well as an extraordinary session of the General Assembly, called by the governor.

During the regular legislative session of 2019, we passed more than 90 bills and resolutions. The governor vetoed just six of those – a historically low number. By law, we must reconvene in September to consider overriding the governor’s vetoes. Most observers, myself included, predict the governor’s vetoes will not be overridden this year.

The six bills the governor refused to sign dealt with a range of issues. One measure made changes to vehicle licensing and registration laws, and would have allowed some motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. Another bill addressed royalty payments from mining operations.  Two somewhat related bills addressed coroners, death certificates and similar issues, but both included an amendment the governor questioned: a measure allowing outdoor cremations. Another bill included several reforms to health care and medical insurance that were also contained in an alternative measure that the governor did approve. Finally, a measure to create a task force to study health insurance issues became irrelevant when the governor appointed a study group by executive order.

While it’s possible the Legislature could muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers necessary to override a veto, that doesn’t seem likely to me. My prediction: This year’s veto session promises to be short and uneventful.

An Extraordinary Session

What may prove more interesting is the extraordinary session called by the governor.  On Monday, Sept. 9, two days prior to the start of Wednesday’s veto session, we will convene the extra session to consider a question relating to sales taxes on vehicle purchases.

The governor called us into session in response to a June decision by the Missouri Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the purchaser of a vehicle can only reduce their tax liability through the sale of one already-owned vehicle. Historically, the Department of Revenue allowed the sale of multiple vehicles to apply when calculating the taxable cost of a new vehicle. The governor is asking lawmakers to allow credits for multiple vehicles.

The governor limited the scope of the extra session to the vehicle sales tax issue, but he also provided that we could consider gubernatorial appointments and “such additional and other matters as may be recommended by the governor.” Because I serve on the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee, much of my time in Jefferson City during the extra session will be spent interviewing and vetting the qualifications of nominees to various state boards and commissions.

Barring any surprises, I anticipate this to be a fairly straightforward extra session. We’ll take up the sales tax issue and review the governor’s appointments. The week in Jefferson City will also give us an opportunity to reconnect with our colleagues and begin preparing for the next session, which will reconvene in just four short months.

It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at 573-751-2183, or visit

Tony Luetkemeyer is a state senator from Parkville that won election in 2018.