Republican Governor Gary Herbert has signed every single bill the 2013 General Legislative Session produced, save 1. Now the question remains: Does the Legislature have enough votes to call an override session to cancel the Governor’s veto of the controversial gun bill HB76?
Contrary to popular opinion, a poll of the legislature after a veto does not occur on every bill. After the deadline for the Governor to veto legislation passes (that’s today!), lawmakers are polled by leadership just once, asking whether or not they wish to hold an override session. The more bills the Governor vetoes, the more legislators he’s likely to have upset, and thus the more likely an override session is to happen.
Many are surprised that the Governor only vetoed one bill. The rumor-mill over the past few weeks has said he was seriously considering using the veto pen on the School Grading bill, a bill that restricts teenagers’ use of cell phones, and the uber-controversial HB391 from Rep Jake Anderegg (R) which originally attempted to force the Governor to reject Medicaid Expansion but was later amended to just make the Governor loop lawmakers in on the decision. More direct than the rumors, Herbert’s office signaled last week that he was “seriously considering” vetoing a bill by Representative Patrice Arent (D) that would ban smoking in cars when young children are present. Herbert than signed that bill into law just hours later.
It’s unclear whether or not the Legislature will have the votes to call an override session. While HB76 did pass both the House and Senate with a veto-proof majority (just barely), oftentimes many lawmakers can be reluctant to override a veto. If the bill loses only 2 supporters in the house, and 3 in the senate, the override session won’t have the required three-quarters approval to take place. Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser (R) has previously commented that he thinks it’s “a real possibility” that the legislature will not override the veto.
Grand total of bills signed into law: 501
Bills vetoed: 1