Thursday, August 06, 2009

Legislative counsel: Arnold's vetoes illegal

At the request of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), California's Legislative Counsel Bureau on Wednesday released an opinion that says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget vetoes are largely illegal.

The argument: The vetoes do not strike new spending, instead making additional cuts to programs that the governor had already enacted when he signed the state budget early this year. Schwarzenegger's constitutional veto power allows striking new spending provisions from legislation, not revisions to expenditures already approved.

In a departure from the norm, this year's budget was both extremely late (it missed its deadline of July 2008) and extremely early (it was a two-year budget, thus it preceded this year's July deadline). So instead of revising the governor's proposed budget — as would be the case in a normal year — this year's spring-revise process made adjustments to a budget that had already been enacted.

For that reason, legislators say, the vetoes are illegal. The opinion is non-binding, and lawmakers won't file suit to repeal the vetoes, says Assemblyman John Perez (D-Los Angeles). But interest groups may well do so.

Legislators could still override the vetoes, although Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) has said he would continue working with the governor's office on a compromise.

Stay tuned on how this may affect the veto of greatest concern to ag interests: the governor's suspension of Williamson Act funding.

1 comment:

Julie said...
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