Gov. Gary Herbert says he is considering a veto of legislation that he sees as overstepping the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch.
Of particular concern is SB171, from Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton. That bill allows the legislature to have their own attorneys intervene in lawsuits that challenge legislation. Herbert says he does not think it’s proper for that legal counsel to cross over into what is normally the territory of the executive branch, namely the Attorney General.
“The legislature should have their own attorneys to give them advice and counsel on issues,” said Herbert at his monthly KUED press conference. “When we execute that legislation, some people get upset. Who gets named as a defendant in those lawsuits? Your’s truly.”
Herbert says he’s worried about the potential for confusion if a lawsuit has two separate lawyers claiming to represent the state.
Herbert also tut-tutted lawmakers for changing their rules to do away with warnings from legislative attorneys that a bill might be unconstitutional. HJR14, sponsored by Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, does away with that requirement.
“I’m disappointed they don’t want constitutional notes anymore,” said Herbert. “We put those on bills to help us understand their impact. Fiscal notes are helpful to understanding how a bill would affect the budget. These notes are helpful, too.”
Lawmakers also passed HJR18, a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to call itself into special session in certain circumstances. Herbert has opposed that idea, but the resolution passed by lawmakers this year was not subject to a veto. That proposal will be on the November ballot.
Herbert says he’s looking at a few possible line-item vetoes as well. He has until next Wednesday to take final action on the bills passed by the legislature.