Members of the Missouri Legislature will head back to Jefferson City next week for a special session called by Gov. Mike Parson to concentrate on two specific bills which he vetoed in July.

The special session, beginning Sept. 12, will run concurrently with the constitutionally mandated veto session which takes place every year.

By calling the special session, lawmakers will be given more liberties than they would normally have under the strict rules of the veto session alone.

Other than a few line item vetoes in bills affecting the 2019 state budget, which Parson and lawmakers have already negotiated, the governor only vetoed two bills outright and one resolution.

House Bill 2562

One of the bills Parson vetoed that will be discussed in the special session next week was House Bill 2562

The main focus of his veto letter involved drug treatment courts, but due to the broad spectrum of provisions tagged on to the bill, Parson decided not to sign.

Parson explains there were 12 different provisions, many of which do not appear to relate to the final title of “courts.”

“It is unfortunate that this provision of this bill will not move forward,” Parson said in the letter. “Treatment courts serve as a valuable purpose for both our judicial and corrections system.”

He went on to write he looks forward to working with the legislature in expanding and improving treatment courts across the state.

SB 892

Parson also vetoed a bill relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and computer science curriculum and claimed the bill favored one specific company, Learning Blade, to be an online curriculum provider.

After further review, it was found out-of-state company Learning Blade was involved in the process of crafting the bill.

In his veto letter, Parson stated he fully supports promotion of STEM education and making students aware of career opportunities in those fields, but cannot approve of the program’s provisions as written.

“The criteria for the online offering is so specific,” Parson wrote, as to “appear to be narrowly tailored to only one company, which violates the Missouri Constitution.”

Mistaken Identity

Parson also vetoed a resolution that would have placed a statue of Harry Truman into statuary hall at the United States Capitol.

The Truman statue would replace a statue of Thomas Hart Benton, who was a five-term United States Senator from Missouri which has been in the hall since 1899.

However the resolution, which refers to Truman as the most important statesman Missouri ever gave the nation, also refers to the wrong Thomas Hart Benton.

“While I fully support the placement of a statue of Harry S. Truman in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, I cannot approve of this resolution as written,” Parson said in a veto letter. “Unfortunately, the Thomas Hart Benton referred to in the resolution delivered to my office is not the correct individual currently on display.”

Instead Parson explains the Thomas Hart Benton described in the resolution is the famed painter and muralist, who happens to be Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s great-great-nephew.

“This incorrect reference, while seemingly minor, fails to honor the legacy of Senator Thomas Hart Benton and his importance to the history of our state,” Parson said.

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