The Missouri General Assembly overrode one of Gov. Jay Nixon's vetoes in a day-long legislative session Wednesday. The Republican-controlled body took the initiative to override Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 749. The measure provided insurance companies a way to opt out of providing contraception on religious and/or moral grounds. It was just the eighth override of a Missouri governor's veto since 1855. All eight of those happened from 1976 to the present.
* The vote was close. The Associated Press reports the Missouri House got the exact number of votes needed to override the veto, 109-45. The Senate voted 26-6. The General Assembly as a whole needs a two-thirds majority to override a gubernatorial veto.
* Senate Bill 749 states, "No employee, self-employed person, or any other person shall be compelled to obtain coverage for, or be discriminated against or penalized for declining or refusing coverage for, abortion, contraception, or sterilization in a health plan if such items or procedures are contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such employee or person."
* These same provisions are true for employers providing health insurance coverage.
* Nixon vetoed the legislation saying it was unnecessarily redundant. The bill itself even reveals this fact by saying the "rights guaranteed under the act are in addition to the rights guaranteed under Section 376.805... and Section 376.1119 [RSMo.]"
* The law goes into effect immediately, with one exception. Thirty days from now, insurance companies must provide insurance coverage for employers and employees without the contraception mandate , according to KOMU.
* The override of the health care legislation veto was the only one pursued by the legislature, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Missouri House approved the measure 105-33 in May. To override the veto, some Democrats had to cross the aisle and vote with Republicans.
* State Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, told the Post-Dispatch, "[The law] is unnecessary, and frankly I'm upset that we have to spend time on it."
* Opponents of the legislation argued access to basic contraception is important to women and families. As such, the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women filed a lawsuit shortly after the override was announced. The organization claims the Missouri law violates the Affordable Care Act.
* Nixon was disappointed in the override. He told St. Louis Public Radio, "For the first time, it puts the insurance company in a position to refuse to provide [contraception] as part of their coverage... I see that as an impediment."
* This is the second time the General Assembly has overridden one of Nixon's vetoes. Last year, the legislature approved new congressional districts over Nixon's veto.
* The Associated Press lists all of the overrides of a Missouri governor's veto going back to the inception of the state. Twelve overrides have occurred since 1820. Eight have happened since 1976. No overrides happened from 1856 to 1975.
* Only one override in the state's history happened when a Republican governor was in Jefferson City. That happened in 1976 when Kit Bond was in office.
* Three overrides happened in one year. In 2003, the legislature overrode three vetoes by Democrat Bob Holden. One bill dealt with concealed weapons, another on abortion rights and the third regarded lawsuits against the gun industry.
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.