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Lawmakers Mull Veto Override

Austen Diamond / KUER

After Gov. Gary Herbert rejected two bills that lawmakers passed this year to give themselves more power, legislative leaders say they’re looking to override the vetoes.

Lawmakers need a two-thirds majority to overturn a governor’s veto, and Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, believes they have it.

“I think there are the votes,” he said. “There will be a lot of discussion as to whether we can accomplish what we want another way. But at least from the tone of the people I’ve talked to so far, there is some appetite for an override.”

Legislative leaders will spend the next few weeks polling their chambers to see if they have the votes to pursue an override.

Adams sponsored one of the two vetoed bills. It would have let the legislature intervene in state lawsuits, something Adams argues they already do.

“We file amicus briefs. We’ve done it locally and at the United State Supreme Court,” he said. “This just clarifies it and puts it in statute.”

The other bill would have prodded the attorney general to release legal opinions to the legislature.

Gov. Herbert said he rejected the two bills because they encroach on executive branch authority.

“Differing positions of the Legislature and the [attorney general] would unnecessarily complicate the proceedings and interfere with the ability of the [attorney general] to pursue legal strategies and to present the state’s case,” Herbert wrote to lawmakers about his decision to veto Adams’ bill.  

The governor has been in a months-long tiff with lawmakers over government balance of power. It began last summer when Herbert called a special election to replace outgoing Congressman Jason Chaffetz without lawmakers’ input.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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