Friday, July 22, 2005

Legislature Will Not Override Vetoes

Despite having a supermajority in the state Senate and falling short of one in the House by only two seats, Democrats have elected not to try and override any of Gov. Rell's vetoes this year.

House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, said Thursday that Democrats instead are contemplating trying to pass revised versions of some vetoed bills in a special session later this year. (Pazniokas)

Do Democrats feel that they don't have the votes in the House (or the Senate) to override? There was a minor furor over an ethics bill that was vetoed because of anti-privitization language (the governor later enacted much of the ethics bill through executive order) and Democrats certainly seemed outraged enough about the veto of the so-called "junk food" bill, which would have banned vending machines selling junk food from school cafeterias. Surely there must be two Republican members of the House who feel strongly about one or both of these issues.

Then again, the problem may be other Democrats. The Democratic leadership hasn't proved particularly adept at keeping the troops in line.

Whatever the reason, no veto overrides this year.

The article is interesting for a historical perspective on vetoes, however. Some choice passages worth quoting here:

Rell signed 301 bills into law. Her nine vetoes are fewer than average for a first-year governor. Even Democratic Gov. William A. O'Neill, who vetoed only nine bills in his last four years as governor, rejected 15 bills in his first year.


Political analysts sometimes use vetoes as a yardstsick of a governor's ability to work with the General Assembly. Governors often veto more bills in their first year than any other.

Republican Thomas Meskill was the extreme example, vetoing 175 bills in 1971.

Overrides have become rare in Connecticut: The last governor from a major party to suffer an override was Democrat Ella T. Grasso in 1980. It happened three times that year.

O'Neill and Republican John G. Rowland each served 10 years without a single override.

In the four years between O'Neill and Rowland, the legislature overrode Lowell P. Weicker Jr. 17 times. But as a third-party governor, Weicker had no party allies in the legislature. (Pazniokas)

Weicker, of course, was a liberal Republican who turned his back on the party, so it was unlikely that anyone from the GOP would side with him. Democrats were a little wary of him, as well. It's interesting that Rowland never had a single override.

A list of Rell's vetoes is here.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Democrats To Let Vetoes Stand." Hartford Courant 22 July, 2005.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the lack of strength the democratic legislature has shown and continues to show.

Rell wasn't elected, the democratic legislature was overwhelmingly.

Why don't they show up as the people voted? Are they affraid of Rell?

And how will this affect the democratic hopefulls on the gubernatorial side? If the legislature doesn't force Rell's hand then aren't the democrats hurting themselves?

Genghis Conn said...

What can I say? Democrats have lousy, self-interested leadership, which means that any sort of unity of purpose beyond staying in the legislature for as long as possible is sorely lacking.