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15 April 2010

Joe Smith: Governor Nixon Displays Unprecedented Power-Grab, Ignores Legislation He Signed into Law

The balance of power is a fundamental part of government. The Governor has chosen to ignore that balance and make powerful decisions that go against the will of the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, the Governor directed state education officials to disregard legislation that lawmakers passed last week regarding mid-year funding for Missouri school districts.

The House of Representatives, on both sides of the aisle, have been working for months to balance the Missouri budget in one of the worst economies we’ve ever seen. This has been a daunting task, but we made the tough decisions necessary to keep our state afloat. The Governor has been absent in this decision-making process, even though House leaders have reached out to him for months. Now, he’s swooping in to grab a headline by powerfully rising above the law.

Essentially, the Governor is telling Missouri citizens that he has the unlimited authority to determine what is and is not constitutional. If the Governor doesn’t like a portion of any bill, he has the opportunity to line-item veto legislation. But instead of following the rules, he participated in a historical power-grab, unlike any the legislature has ever seen. By directing his state department to ignore a specific part of the bill is a blatant disregard for the rules outlined in the Missouri constitution. The Governor decided to ignore parts of the bill because he thought those specific rules to be “unconstitutional”. However, that is not his decision to make. The Missouri court system should be the only power that has the ability to deem what is and is not constitutional.

Ultimately, even if the general public agrees with the outcome of the Governor’s action, Missouri citizens should be fearful of Governor Nixon’s attempt to dictate a decision that should be ultimately left to the Missouri judicial process.

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