McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

What are some of the standard bases for gubernatorial vetoes and what are some of the themes that have emerged with Governor Newsom’s vetoes? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives a flavor for some of the things chief executives might use to determine whether to sign or veto pending legislation.

Political scientists have identified a fair number of bases that are utilized for state governors to veto legislation. These could range from executive branch agency objections to separation of powers issues to impact on the state’s budget or fiscal affairs to public outcries against the bill.

As it pertains to Governor Newsom after one year in office, and even to some degree Governor Brown before him, there are some veto trends that have emerged. These trends include If an executive branch agency is already working on an issue administratively, the Governor is more likely to choose that approach over a legislative solution.

Similarly, legislation that tries to take authority from one state agency and give it to another state agency, or even a local agency, often gets vetoed. As does legislation that duplicates activities that are currently being undertaken by an executive branch agency.

Another is that if the bill proposes the state does something a local government can do, or if the bill imposes rules on local governments that result in a reimbursable state mandate, then those bills tend to get vetoed.

Sometimes a governor may think an issue isn’t quite ripe yet for a policy solution and will veto the bill. Similarly, the governor may think the issue is ripe for a solution but that the legislation on their desk isn’t ready and will veto the bill so that more work can be done on it.

Lastly, and perhaps obviously, if the governor has already signed one bill on the topic there probably isn’t a need to sign a second bill on the topic too.

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

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