Schaefer unsure of motorcycle helmet override
Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to strike down a bill allowing motorcyclists to ride without a helmet was arguably the first-term chief executive’s most high-profile veto of the year.
Motorcycle enthusiasts have been trying to alter the law for decades, arguing the regulation is a limitation on personal freedom. This year, legislators passed a bill allowing motorcyclists who are 21 years or older to ride without a helmet. Individuals would still have to wear protective headgear on interstate highways.
Nixon decided to veto the bill earlier this month, basing his decision on the potential for increased health care costs and the negative ramifications of a similiar move in Florida. Keeping the helmet law as is, Nixon said, would “save numerous lives, while also saving Missouri taxpayers millions of dollars in increased health care costs.”
As I noted yesterday, the legislature will get a chance to overrule Nixon’s veto in a couple months. Such a move would require an affirmative vote from two-thirds of each legislative chamber. Since the bill originated in the Missouri Senate, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, would have to decide whether to overrule Nixon’s decision.
The thing is, Schaefer’s bill was not originally meant to repeal the motorcycle helmet requirement. The measure originally sought to shield motorcyclists from comparative negligence and comparative fault simply because a person was riding a motorcycle. But when the Senate later agreed to tack on the repeal of the helmet law, Schaefer decided to keep the legislation moving.
Another complicating factor that might prevent Schaefer from trying to override the veto is that a portion of his original provision was placed into another bill. Some of Schaefer’s insurance lanaguage was included as the 17th provision in the so-called “omnibus judiciary bill,” a package that Nixon signed into law earlier this month.
Asked yesterday whether that development would influence his decisionmaking, Schaefer said “I don’t know if there will be an effort to override that veto or not.”
“Not all the portions of the insurance section that I had… [made it] into the subsequent bill that passed, but most of it did,” Schaefer said. “And I think that sends a message that I wanted to send to the insurance companies that it was not a fair practice or an acceptable practice to assign comparative fault simply because you’re on a motorcycle.”
The General Assembly’s veto session will begin on September 16.Tags: jay nixon, kurt schaefer, motorcycle helmet, veto session
Categories: Consumer Interest, Politics, State Politics.