By DAVID A. LIEB
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., AP) — Republicans regained a two-thirds majority in the Missouri House Tuesday heading into a big showdown with Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon over his vetoes of tax breaks, abortion restrictions and other issues.
Republican Tila Hubrecht, of Dexter, won a special election Tuesday in the 151st District. That gives Republicans 109 House seats, the minimum two-thirds majority required to override gubernatorial vetoes.
Republicans already hold a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
Republican Shawn Sisco, of Rolla, also was leading in early election returns for a special election in the 120th House District. A victory by Sisco would give Republicans 110 House seats.
The special election winners are expected to be sworn into office by Sept. 10, when lawmakers will convene to consider overriding Nixon’s vetoes of 32 bills and 136 budget sections.
The agenda includes vetoes to a series of bills granting tax breaks to particular businesses, which Nixon contends could bust a hole in the budget. Republican legislative leaders say the measures could help the economy while overturning what they describe as misinterpretations of tax policies by the courts and the Department of Revenue. Nixon said the numerous budget vetoes were needed because of falling state revenues and to guard against the potential for the Legislature to override his vetoes on the tax breaks.
Among Nixon’s other high-profile vetoes are bills extending Missouri’s one-day abortion waiting period to 72 hours and allowing specially trained teachers to carry concealed guns in public schools.
The special elections were called after incumbents resigned for a variety of reasons. Republican Rep. Jason Smith, of Salem, stepped down from the 120th District seat after winning a special election to Congress in June 2013.
The 151st District became vacant when Republican Rep. Dennis Fowler resigned in December to accept a Nixon appointment to the state parole board. The move ultimately left Fowler out of a job, because Republican senators refused to confirm his appointment while citing frustration that he had voted against a veto override of a tax-cut bill in 2013 and had deprived the GOP of its supermajority by resigning.
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