Legislature finally ready to override Taft veto - but on HB12?

Gongwer News Service
Tuesday, December 2, 2003


The first legislative override of a veto by Governor Bob Taft moved closer
to reality Tuesday with the General Assembly's attempt to impose an outside
review on the executive branch authority to shutter state developmental

Itself a victim of political maneuvering that has already led to a five-month delay in its passage, a measure originally designed just to increase legal protections for the mentally retarded and developmentally
disabled (SB 4) cleared the Legislature complete with the language offensive
to Mr. Taft, or at least a reasonable facsimile. The bill was amended in a
joint Senate-House conference committee, but the provision calling for
independent, prior review of a governor's proposed MR/DD institutional
closures remained largely intact.

Governor Taft told lawmakers in a letter that he planned to veto the entire
bill if the provision wasn't stripped - his hand would be forced because
only budget bills can incur line-item vetoes. Supporters, including members
that have MR/DD facilities in their districts, said they have the votes in
both chambers to override the veto.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Mr. Taft, who vetoed similar language from the budget bill, said in his Dec.
1 letter to Senate President Doug White (R-Manchester) that "if this provision remains in the bill, I will veto this legislation."

The Columbus Dispatch reported today that when asked about the veto threat, White said, "I don’t like it." The Republican from Manchester said he would call for an override of the governor’s veto if that’s the wish of senators.

Senator Spada said he expects the governor will veto the entire bill, but
hopes otherwise. If he does, the lawmaker said, "Then we will have to do
what we think is right."

The conference report cleared the Senate 32-0 and the House 92-3. Voting in
opposition were Reps. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island), Barbara Sykes
(D-Akron) and James Trakas (R-Independence). Mr. Trakas said afterward that he opposed the changes, along with the infringement on executive power, but
expected an override would ensue.

Mr. Wagner agreed. "I think the votes are there, but I hope it doesn't come
to that," he said.

To accommodate a speedy override vote, the Senate immediately delivered the
signed bill to Mr. Taft Tuesday to get the 10-day clock for gubernatorial
action moving. The Senate likely will be out of session for the remainder of
the year if Mr. Taft responds with a veto message, but the House will
probably be in session for another week.

Speaker Householder said he would talk to his members on Wednesday about
overriding a veto, adding the governor shouldn't be surprised given the
historical tug-of-war over executive and legislative powers. "This is one of
those great standoffs you get into sometimes," the speaker said.

If the process follows through as most expect, it would mark the first time
a veto override occurs in Mr. Taft's tenure.

The Republican-led Ohio legislature no longer has any excuse for not immediately finalizing a report on HB12 in conference committee, approving it in the General Assembly, and sending it to Taft. Past excuses offered by a few Senators over reluctance to override a governor of their own party no longer apply. If everyone who voted for HB12 the first time remains true to their vote, veto override is assurred.

Further obstruction by those who would claim to be "pro-gun" can be seen only for what it is - blatant refusal to support the self-defense rights of Ohioans, and a revelation of where they truly stand when it comes to our rights.

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