JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led Legislature put a conservative stamp on state employment laws Wednesday, voting to cut unemployment benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally while also outlawing local minimum wage increases.

Internal Republican dissention doomed another high-profile measure, as the House fell significantly short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a right-to-work bill barring mandatory union fees in workplaces.

But Republicans held their supermajorities together to enact a variety of other measures over Nixon's objections, including a new law that eliminates a college scholarship for some immigrant students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The Legislature overrode 10 of Nixon's vetoes Wednesday, raising the annual total to a dozen and adding to Nixon's distinction as the most frequently overridden governor in Missouri history.

House Speaker Todd Richardson said lawmakers had "acted in the best interest of our citizens, our businesses and our state."

The employment bills were a primary focus of this year's annual veto session, which drew hundreds of union members and business leaders to the Capitol. Union members cheered when the right-to-work bill failed.

Businesses scored a victory with the vote to reduce jobless benefits, which they fund through special taxes, but that may be tempered by legal uncertainties. Nixon contends the Senate's 24-8 vote Wednesday for the unemployment bill ran afoul of the Missouri Constitution, because the Senate failed to act — as the House had done — before the regular session ended in May.

Nixon's administration has declined to say whether it will implement the reduction in jobless benefits.

"I believe this is going to be resolved in the courts," said Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard.

The legislation would link the duration of jobless benefits to the state's unemployment rate, offering less aid when there are fewer people unemployed. If the jobless rate remains below 6 percent, the effect would be to reduce Missouri's current 20 weeks of benefits — which already is one of the shorter periods nationally — to as few as 13 weeks starting in January. That would be lower than every state except North Carolina, where benefits currently are capped at 12 weeks under a similar sliding scale.

Democratic Sen. Scott Sifton argued that the cuts to unemployment benefits are "going to make bad recessions worse," and Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp asserted that the effect was "to bully the people who need our help the most."

As their last act Wednesday, senators completed a veto override of a bill prohibiting cities and counties from setting local minimum wages or employee benefits that exceed state or federal standards. The bill also prohibits local governments from banning or taxing plastic bags used by retailers — a response to a since-abandoned proposal in Columbia.

"When you have higher minimum wages, it will be economically destructive," said Republican Rep. Kevin Engler. "People are going to lose their jobs," if businesses can't afford to pay more, he added.

Kansas City officials have said the state law will nullify a local minimum wage hike that was to go before voters in November. But St. Louis is pressing forward, despite a legal challenge from business groups, with an ordinance passed Aug. 28 authorizing a minimum wage increase to take effect Oct. 15. The new state law says it pre-empts local wage ordinances in effect after Aug. 28.

Nixon had asserted that state lawmakers are attempting a "power grab" from local officials — a claim echoed Wednesday by House Democrats.

The legislation is part of a national trend in which state legislatures have been pushing back against local officials who have tried to set standards on everything from local wages to agricultural seeds to fast-food meals. Business lobbyists contend a patchwork of local requirements would be a burden.

The House and Senate also voted Wednesday to override Nixon's veto of a bill barring the state's A+ Scholarship from going to students who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents as children. The scholarship pays for two years of tuition at a community college for students who meet GPA, attendance and tutoring or mentoring requirements.

A state agency rule change this year ensured the scholarship could go to students without legal status who have been deemed lawfully present in the U.S. under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The legislative vote will undo that.

The measure runs counter to efforts in roughly half of the states, where either lawmakers or colleges have guaranteed in-state tuition or financial aid to certain immigrant students. Only a few states have blocked such aid.

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Associated Press writer Summer Ballentine contributed to this report.

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