The vetoed Missouri measure mirrored model legislation produced by the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of conservative lawmakers and businesses that has opposed Obama's healthcare law.
The organization's website includes a draft bill requiring applicants to submit fingerprints for background checks in compliance with state laws and federal "Public Law 92-554." The Missouri bill used that same reference to federal law.
But the federal law that is cited deals with alcohol abuse and prevention, Nixon said. The Democratic governor said the appropriate reference would have been to Public Law 92-544, which deals with federal criminal records.
Nixon, a Democrat, called that a "glaring defect" and "a significant drafting error" deserving of a veto.
"It appears that in copying and pasting from this ALEC model act, the General Assembly failed to correct this incorrect reference," Nixon said in a written message addressed to legislators.
The mistake apparently was avoided by lawmakers in some other states. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a measure last month that omits any reference to a specific federal law when requiring fingerprints for background checks. The version signed in April by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer included the correct citation for federal law.
The legislative sponsor of the Missouri measure said he likely will try to pass a correction version of the bill next year. "The bottom line is we want to be right when we do it," said state Sen. Mike Parson, a Republican from Bolivar.
Officials at ALEC did not immediately respond Monday to questions about the group's model legislation for health insurance navigators.
This marked the second consecutive year that Missouri lawmakers have attempted to set standards for the insurance guides. Last year, Nixon signed a bill requiring state licensure for the health insurance enrollment aides.
But U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith issued a preliminary injunction against it in January, saying it "constitutes an impermissible obstacle" to the federal law and thus was pre-empted by it under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, has appealed that decision.