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Governor Wins Veto Override Test

State Capital Bureau

May 08, 1995

JEFFERSON CITY _ Gov. Mel Carnahan won a series of test votes Monday (May 8) on his veto last week of the abortion-counseling bill.

The Senate repeatedly rejected efforts that would have assured abortion opponents had more time to line up the votes for an override by delaying an override vote until this fall or next year.

Carnahan vetoed the bill, which would force women seeking an abortion to first receive counseling, on Thursday. The timing was critical, at least by a constitutional interpretation by the governor's office.

They claim Missouri's constitution provides that a bill vetoed five days before the session's end must be considered during the current session.

The Senate's journal indicates the chamber received the veto message on Thursday _ well before the Sunday deadline.

But, in a departure from normal procedure, the veto message was not formally read during Thursday's Senate session.

That prompted the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Schneider, D-St. Louis County, to offer motion after motion to change the journal. All his motions were defeated.

"The truth...I want the journal to state the truth," Schneider said.

But other senators charged Schneider wanted to open up a hole that will allow lawmakers to act on the override after the session closes.

In other legislative action Monday:

@ Saying a lot of people will be relieved with its passage, the Senate sent the "potty parity" bill to the governor's desk.

The bill would require stadiums and other large public amusement places to provide equal numbers of toilets for men and women. It also would require an equal diaper-changing stations in men's and women's restrooms.

The Senate accepted a House change that would allow compliance for an existing facility to be delayed until major renovations are undertaken.

@ The Senate sent the governor a bill requiring a one-year suspension for children caught with guns on school grounds. The measure was required for the state to retain more than $100 million in federal funds.

@ A House-Senate conference committee tentatively agreed to expand the juvenile crime bill designed to make it easier to try as adults juveniles accused of serious felonies.

The measure, as it passed the House and Senate, would allow an adult criminal trial for a child of any age charged with a serious felony such as murder.

The committee's version also would lower the minimum age _ currently 14 _ for trying kids accused of any felony to 12, no matter how minor.

Sen. Joe Moseley, D-Columbia, railed against the compromise version.

"I don't believe we should be lowering the age to 12 for crimes like stealing a bike or stealing a dog," Moseley said..

Moseley also said he does not like a provision which would allow juvenile judges to set a definite period of time for children to serve in juvenile programs. Currently, juvenile programs release young offenders when they determine they have changed their behavior and are ready for release.

"If they determine a kid is rehabilitated, we shouldn't be taking up space," Moseley said. He also said kids should not be able to "bide their time" until their sentence is up without having to make an effort toward changing their behavior.

The compromise also would provide tax credits for contributions to juvenile crime-prevention programs. That section was included by the House, but removed by the Senate.

@ The House spent four critical hours of the legislative session's last Monday debating new license plates for the state of Missouri.

Finally, after 33 amendments, the House passed legislation that would give Missouri a new reflective license plate. A commission would come up with the color and design.

"Our license plates are the ugliest in the country," said Rep. Larry Thomason, D-Kennett, the bill's sponsor.

Thomason also said that Missouri is the first in the country with 360 license plate variations.

Thomason's claim was followed by chants of "We're No. 1!" from legislators.

"Do you know any other category that we're No. 1 in?" asked House Speaker Bob Griffin, D-Cameron.

"No," Thomason said.

Griffin joked, "And you're trying to change that?"

Amendments to the Senate bill added by the House range from special plates for Veterans to insignias for the Missouri Restaurants Association. Twenty-six of them passed.

One defeated amendment would have created "an official red neck" license plate, displaying a hound dog under the porch of a double-wide mobile home. Only pre-1970 pickup trucks displaying paint primer would be eligible.

The measure goes back to the Senate for review of the House changes -- all 26 of those amendments.