Governor vetoes more bills
Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons continued his criticism of the Democrats who controlled the 2009 legislative session, and also announced Tuesday that he has vetoed five more bills, bringing his total to a record 48.
Gibbons singled out Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, during a news conference in which he also repeated criticism of the lawmakers’ $781 million tax package approved over his veto.
The lawmakers’ veto override, accomplished with key votes from Republican legislators, was one of 25 by the lawmakers. Both the veto and override totals are records, surpassing previous records set shortly after Nevada became a state in 1864.
With his latest vetoes and bill signings, Gibbons said he was down to just one measure from the session, AB309 which rolls back part of a voter-approved smoking ban so that tobacco trade conventions are exempted.
The deadline for signing or vetoing bills is Friday, although the fate of AB309 could be decided by late Tuesday, aides to the governor said.
“The Buckley-Horsford tax increase of 2009 is going to be a challenge for working families across the state of Nevada,” Gibbons said, terming it a $1 billion tax increase that will result in lost jobs and difficulty in recovering from an economic recession.
Asked why he didn’t name key GOP lawmakers who supported the $781 million tax package, such as Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, Gibbons said the plan is “the result of the leadership.” He added Buckley and Horsford controlled the legislation.
The governor also said the tax plan was worked out in closed-door meetings “in the dark of night” and his staffers weren’t allowed to participate in those sessions. The meetings included Democratic and Republican leaders from both the Assembly and Senate.
The latest bills to be vetoed by Gibbons included AB130, which provided that only the Las Vegas Metro sheriff or his representatives are required to negotiate union contracts; and SB396, which would have revised police agency probes of police officers.
Also vetoed were AB451, to revise investments of certain state funds; AB503, to create an advisory panel on highways; and SB143, to appropriate $500,000 to the lawmakers’ Interim Finance Committee to pay costs for implementing certain legislation.
“We would not have had to veto so many bills if the Legislature had not sent so many bad bills over to the governor’s office,” Gibbons said.
Despite all the vetoes and overrides, Gibbons also insisted he had a “working relationship” with lawmakers. Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns has said the vetoes didn’t indicate that Gibbons was disconnected from the Legislature.
The 25 veto overrides required separate Senate and Assembly votes. In the 21-member Senate, with 12 Democrats and nine Republicans, there were nine unanimous override votes and five others in which only one or two senators backed him.
There were only two close override votes in the Senate, notably the 14-7 vote for the domestic partners bill that Gibbons vetoed. A two-thirds vote was needed, and 14 was the bare minimum.
In the 42-seat Assembly, where Gibbons usually had support from several of the 14 GOP members, there was only one unanimous override vote and one with 40 votes to override.
There were six close override votes, including four with the minimum 28 votes – the number of Assembly Democrats.