Missouri jobless benefit cuts could test legislative powers

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Republican lawmakers are pressing ahead with plans to enact one of the nation’s most restrictive unemployment laws later this year even though Missouri’s governor and a former Supreme Court judge says they can’t.

Senators ended their session in May without taking the final vote needed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill cutting unemployment benefits to as few as 13 weeks.

Nixon says that means his veto has been upheld.

But top Republican senators say they can do it during a September session.

Nixon and former Missouri Chief Justice Michael Wolff both say the state constitution doesn’t allow that. They say a provision permitting September overrides only applies to bills vetoed in the final week of the session. Nixon vetoed the unemployment bill before then.

By DAVID A. LIEB