JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Democratic Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters Wednesday he’s “optimistic” some of his more than 20 vetoes will stick when the Republican-led Legislature considers overriding him to enact the bills next week.
The top bills that could become law during the short Sept. 14 session include a sweeping gun rights measure and legislation that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls.
But Nixon on Wednesday primarily focused on some lesser-known legislation, including measures to allow license offices to charge more in fees and to end a current requirement that certain businesses use a federal E-verify system to check if job applicants are authorized to work in the U.S.
“I’m optimistic that on a number of these, we’ll be successful,” Nixon said.
Opponents of the guns and voter-ID measures face an uphill battle persuading members of the heavily Republican Legislature to switch votes. Both measures passed with enough support to override Nixon if lawmakers stick to their original votes next week.
Republican Sen. Will Kraus, who sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for a voter-ID law and shepherded the vetoed bill through the Senate, in a statement said “presenting a utility bill as identification is hardly sufficient to prove someone’s identity.”
Nixon argued the voter-ID measure would “make it harder for people who are poor or disabled to vote.”
In a letter explaining his veto, Nixon said getting the needed identification would cost time and money. He wrote that older residents with expired licenses and those with disabilities also would face greater hurdles to voting.
“We can make everybody do a blood sample. We can make everybody’s mom and dad show up. We can make you do a full lineage of where you’re from,” Nixon said of verifying voters’ identities. “But the bottom line is: you’re separating people.”
Nixon also said the gun rights bill would “make Missouri less safe.” Lawmakers who support it have disputed that.
The bill would allow most people to carry concealed guns even if they haven’t gone through the training required for permits.
It would create a “stand-your-ground” right, meaning people don’t have retreat from danger any place they are legally entitled to be present. The bill also would expand the “castle doctrine” by allowing invited guests such as baby sitters to use deadly force if confronted in homes.