Tuesday, May 12, 2015

About a Veto

Speaking with a friend yesterday, we turned to the subject of the Executive Veto under our County Charter (as friends are wont to do).  We presumed that Howard County has a pocket veto and that a bill not signed by the Executive 10 days from submission was effectively vetoed and returned to the Council.  That was incorrect.  Section 209(g) of the Charter states as follows:
Executive veto. Upon the passage of any legislation by the Council, with the exception of such measures as may in this Charter be made expressly exempt from the executive veto, the same shall be presented within three calendar days to the County Executive for his or her approval or disapproval, and within ten calendar days after such presentation the County Executive shall return any such legislation to the Council with his or her approval endorsed thereon or with a statement in writing of his or her reasons for not approving the same. Upon approval by the County Executive, any such legislation shall stand enacted. Any such legislation presented to the County Executive and returned with his or her veto may be reconsidered by the Council. The County Executive's objections shall be entered upon the Journal of the Council, and not later than at its next legislative session, the Council may reconsider the enactment thereof; and if two-thirds of the members of the Council vote in the affirmative, the legislation shall stand enacted. Whenever the County Executive shall fail to return any such legislation within ten days after the date of its presentation to him or her, the Administrator of the Council shall forthwith record the fact of such failure in the Journal and such legislative act shall thereupon stand enacted. The County Executive may strike out or reduce any item in a supplementary appropriation bill and the procedure in such a case shall be the same as in the case of the veto of a bill by the County Executive.
So there you have it.  Here in Howard County, we have "Pocket Passage", seemingly making the Executive's involvement in the legislative process that of a goalie.  Good bills can be signed or let by into enactment.  Bad bills should be stopped with a veto.

That's all for today.  Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!