01 June 2008

Governor Ritter's Vetos

So far in 2008, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has vetoed two bills, HB 08-1208 which would have limited the power of prosecutors to charge juveniles as adults without court approval (because as a former prosecutor he likes the status quo), and HB 08-1406 concering paid petition circulators (due to constitutional concerns). He also vetoed three footnotes to the state budget using his line item veto power. This is a fairly small number of vetoes, as expected in a year when Democrats have majorities in both houses of the General Assembly as well as the Governorship.

The direct file veto was something of a surprise because its provisions had already been watered down from the original version in an effort to please the Governor, but this was ultimately not enough to win the Governor's approval.

As others have noted, there was also a trial court ruling that found a key provision of the adopted state budget relating to school funding to be unconstitutional as a violation of TABOR. This is now being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. If the decision is affirmed, it may be necessary to call a special session of the Colorado General Assembly to revise the state budget to reflect the court decision impacting a $1.7 billion chunk of that budget.

All bills passed prior to April 27, 2007 have become law or been vetoed by now. The deadline for vetoing other laws passed on the last seven days that the General Assembly was in session in 2008 is June 6, 2008. Colorado does not have a pocket veto, but vetoes made after the session adjourns cannot be overridden. The Governor must affirmatively act to veto a bill to prevent it from becoming law. Bills not signed or vetoed will become law.

The hardest veto calls for a Governor are typically reserved for the last few days in which the Governor can act, so there will probably be a few more bills vetoed this week. There will also probably be a few bills which the Governor will permit to become law without signature because he doesn't approve of the bills, but doesn't disagee strongly enough to veto them. Neither the General Assembly website, nor I, have kept up to date lists of which bills remain pending, so I'll just have to wait with everyone else to see which bills remain on the cusp.

No comments: