Utah Legislature calls Veto Override Session

April 25, 2011


SALT LAKE CITY – Senate President Michael Waddoups and Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart have called a veto override session for 8 a.m. on Friday, May 6. After polling their respective bodies, more than two-thirds of Utah legislators are in favor of an override.

Governor Gary R. Herbert vetoed four bills after the 2011 general session. Each of the bills originally passed the Legislature with more than the two-thirds support needed to override a veto. The four vetoed bills are House Bill 328 – State Government Work Week, Senate Bill 229 – Transportation Funding Revisions, Senate Bill 294 – Patient Access Reform, and Senate Bill 305 – Economic Development Through Education.

Each vetoed bill may be considered in an override session, but Senate Bill 229 is at the forefront of the current discussion. Today, the president and speaker said the key arguments in favor of SB 229 center on economic development and sound fiscal policy. They reiterated the following points:

* Utah carries significant unfunded and underfunded needs in road construction and maintenance.

* When we adequately fund infrastructure we fuel economic development. That rising tide lifts all boats.

* Without SB 229, the State of Utah will be hard put to fund transportation needs without a tax increase.

* Well-managed states first try to fund growing needs with existing revenue streams before turning to a tax increase.

* Borrowing is no longer a good option. Interest rates are increasing and we are approaching our debt limit.

* SB 229 designates a percentage of any new money for transportation needs. It does not impact the budget of any existing program.

* Money set aside for transportation during times of growth becomes a working rainy day fund for the state. It is the first source of money we use in an economic downturn to save other state programs.

* Funds reserved for transportation can be allocated to other programs by a simple majority vote of the legislature.

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1. Senator Stuart Adams, sponsor of SB 229, has posted comments on the Senate Site:http://www.senatesite.com/home/sb229/

2. Representative Brad Dee, the House sponsor of SB 229, will also post comments on the House of Representatives’ web site: http://www.utahreps.net

3. Vote counts, bill status, and audio archives re: SB 229 are available on line at http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/sbillhtm/sb0229.htm

4. A copy of the official call to a veto override session is attached as a PDF.