Will there be a veto override session? Lawmakers have about a month to decide

Will there be a veto override session from lawmakers this year? We’ve got a little more than a month to find out.

Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed two bills from the 2018 session that could spark a veto override: 

HB198, which requires the Attorney General to give the Utah Legislature a legal opinion when asked. The bill sprung out of the fight between the legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert over who got to set the rules for last year’s special Congressional election in the 3rd District. Lawmakers asked the AG’s office to give them an opinion on the matter, but Herbert’s office blocked it citing a conflict of interest.

SB171 allows the legislature to have their own attorneys intervene in lawsuits challenging legislation they pass. That’s usually the purview of the Attorney General’s office. Gov. Herbert has said that having more than one attorney in a lawsuit claiming to represent the state would lead to confusion.

Both bills passed with a veto-proof majority in both houses during the just-completed session. If lawmakers choose to override the veto, they could probably accomplish that.

Legislative leaders began polling their membership on Wednesday morning to determine whether there is enough support to conduct a veto override. Sources in both houses say they’ll give members “a few weeks” to respond. 

During the intervening time, the governor’s office will be working to flip at least 6 Senators and 12 House members to “no” votes on SB171. They also need to convince 13 Representatives and 4 Senators to reverse their votes on HB198 to avoid a veto override.

Paul Edwards, the spokesperson for Gov. Herbert, tells UtahPolicy.com they will be “communicating with legislators about our reasons for the vetoes.” 

The last day lawmakers can convene a veto override session is May 7.