Williams challenges Beshear veto of highway bill. See the law behind the news.



By LawrReader Senior Editor  Stan Billingsley                                                 April 28, 2008

A controversy has arisen over a bill passed by the Legislature and subsequently vetoed by Gov. Beshear.

The bill was passed late on April 15.  The bill was not vetoed by the Governor until Monday April 28, 2008. That means that the veto didn’t occur until l3 days after the date of passage of the bill.

 Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, contends that Beshear did not issue the veto in time.The legislature approved House Bill 79 in the final hours of April 15 and did not send it to the governor until April 16, Beshear said.
Gov. Beshear said he had the necessary time to consider the veto. He said the Constitution does not count Sundays in the 10 days it gives a governor to consider a veto.
We have reviewed Section 88 of the Kentucky Constitution which deals with the
Governor’s veto power.  After reading this constitutional provision we conclude the Governor is right on this one. 

The veto must be within 10 days after the bill is PRESENTED to the Governor and so the 10 day period did not start to run until April l6th, the day he received the bill.  The date of passage (April l5th.) is not relevant to the calculation of the ten day time period.

Secondly, in counting the ten day period, one is required by the Constitution to NOT COUNT SUNDAYS. Therefore when you count April l7th. as the first day, and delete Sundays, you will discover that Monday April 28th. was indeed the 10th. day, and the Governors veto powers remained intact.  (Kentucky law holds that when a time period is mandated you start counting the lst day of the time period as the day after the commencement of the tolling period, i.e. April l7th..)
See the operative wording of Kentucky Constitution - Section 88Signature of bills by Governor — Veto — Passage over veto — Partial veto.
“If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, ..?
So House Bill 79 was legally vetoed.  The bill would have mandated that a legislative wish list of highway and bridge projects be advanced in lieu of allowing the Transportation Cabinet to determine which projects were most worthy.

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