McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

Article IV, Section 10(e) of the California Constitution explicitly gives the Governor of California a power that not even the President of the United States has, the line-item veto.

The exact language of Article IV, Section 10(e) reads, “The Governor may reduce or eliminate one or more items of appropriation while approving other portions of a bill. The Governor shall append to the bill a statement of the items reduced or eliminated with the reasons for the action. The Governor shall transmit to the house originating the bill a copy of the statement and reasons. Items reduced or eliminated shall be separately reconsidered and may be passed over the governor’s veto in the same manner as bills.”

In other words, California’s Governor can reduce a line item of appropriation or eliminate the item of spending entirely. In the budget bill, the Governor can reduce or eliminate one or more lines items, but still approve the budget bill in total. And just as with other bills the Governor may veto, they must explain the reasoning for reducing or eliminating an appropriation with a line-item veto.

Similarly, as with bills vetoed by the Governor, the Legislature can override a line-item veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each house of the Legislature. This applies to any budget or appropriations bills in which items of spending were reduced or eliminated by the Governor. All of these may be subject to a veto override and then the items reduced or eliminated must be separately considered for purposes of the veto override. If the veto override is successful, then the reduced or eliminate appropriation is restored as originally approved by the Legislature.

You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.