Utah Cap Haps Blog

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

To Override or Not Override

Capitol Pic of the Day

In the State of Utah, the Governor has veto authority over any legislation. When this happens, it takes two-thirds of the legislature in both chambers to nullify or override the veto. Click here to see what is reflected in our Utah Constitution. As for budget bills, the Governor has line item veto authority. This means, there is the ability to veto one line item out of the budget bill, without vetoing the whole bill.

We recently received news that the Governor has decided to veto a few things. Below is a list of what was vetoed. Click here to view the letters explaining each veto. 

Vetoed Bills: 

Budget Bills with Line Item Vetoes:

Six line item vetoes out of two budget bills were for technical reasons where the money was appropriated but the associated bills did not pass. One of the line item vetoes were for other reasons, explained below.

Here is a visual of the first page of a budget bill. The word, "Enrolled" in the upper left, means that it is the final version that passed by the Legislature. Every bill has a general description, highlighted provisions, and a section that shows you if there is money appropriated in the bill.

The State of Utah budgets on an incremental basis. This means that there is a base budget that tends to carry over each year and then there are the incremental changes to the base. It is the incremental changes that are requested, presented, publicly scrutinized, and ultimately end up dying or being appropriated into a bill like the one you see below. 

So what is meant by a line item? Here is another page of the same bill (SB2). In line 205, you can see that there is an "Item 6" that lists out various appropriations. Basically, the Governor has the ability to wipe out certain lines of a budget bill, which holds the rest of the bill harmless. The downside is that there are multiple items being funded in the line item and when you veto the line item, you veto every item in that given section.

Below is an overview of the non-technical items that were vetoed, and so you don't have to scroll back up for the letter, here is the link. In a nutshell, the Governor's Office highlighted three areas of concern: 1) Upstart Early Childhood Education, $1,500,000; 2) ProStart Culinary Arts Program, $275,000; and 3) Early Intervention, $3,000,000.

It is important to keep in mind that that these items currently have ongoing budget within the base and that the appropriations reflected in the bill are incremental additions to the base. Here is a closer visual of the line item in SB2 that was vetoed. 

So now that you have the information, send me your thoughts and provide your input. I will be responding with my decision to support or oppose an override session in about one week.