It’s likely that end-of-session turmoil cost the Missouri Senate its chance to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would cut the state’s stingy unemployment benefits even more.
Nixon and others contend the General Assembly needed to vote on an override during its regular session because he vetoed the bill 10 days before adjournment. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate didn’t get around to a vote.
That’s actually good. House Bill 150 is a mean-spirited bill that should not be brought up for consideration when the General Assembly starts its annual veto session next Wednesday.
Missouri is among only seven states that provide 20 or fewer weeks of aid to people who lose their jobs. The bill Nixon vetoed would narrow that grace period further — to as little as 13 weeks — on a sliding scale based on the state’s average unemployment rate.
As Nixon pointed out, tying benefits to the state unemployment average would leave workers high and dry after a shock to a particular region’s economy.
Unemployed Missourians are hardly raking in big benefits. Themaximum weekly benefit of $320 is seventh lowest among the states. But it can help pay rent and keep the lights on.
Supporters have offered no good reason for cutting benefits other than it seems to be a pet project of Republican-controlled legislatures. Senators should not pick this legal fight.