Misconception Monday – Governors Role in the Legislative Process

Welcome to another episode of Misconception Monday, where I dispel common misconceptions about various aspects of the California Legislature and the legislative process. On this week’s podcast, ahead of Governor Brown’s final State of the State address on Thursday, we will be covering common misconceptions about the Governor’s role in the legislative process.

The first misconception is that the Governor’s line-item veto authority only applies to budget bills. Actually, according to the California State Constitution, “The Governor may reduce or eliminate one or more items of appropriation while other portions of a bill.” So the Governor can reduce or eliminate any appropriation in any bill. When the Governor uses his or her line-item veto authority, he or she must send the bill back to its house of origin in the California legislature with a statement detailing the items that were reduced or eliminated, as well as reasons for those line-item vetoes. The legislature can override a line-item veto the same way that it can override a veto, that is with a two-thirds vote of both houses in the California legislature.

Another misconception is that the Governor, like the President, can pocket veto a bill. Actually, in California, we have the exact opposite, a pocket signature rule. If the Governor fails to act on a bill, either intentionally or accidentally, then that bill becomes law without his or her signature.

Another misconception, and one that is important to those who are watching a particular piece of legislation that is sitting on the Governor’s desk, is that the Governor has 30 days to act on legislation sent to his or her desk. Actually, the general rule is that the Governor has 12 days to act on legislation once it reaches his or her desk. It is only at the end of the yearly legislative session that the deadline extends from 12 days to 30.

You’ll have to listen to the full podcast for the rest of the common misconceptions about the Governor’s Role in the legislative process. You can also find the rest of my Misconception Monday podcasts here.