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Idaho senator wants more veto override tries

Sen. Steve Vick (Betsy Russell)
Sen. Steve Vick (Betsy Russell)

BOISE - Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, introduced legislation this morning to amend the Idaho Constitution to allow the speaker of the House and the president pro-tem of the Senate to order the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to allow for a veto override, if the governor has vetoed a bill after lawmakers wrap up their session. The Idaho Constitution allows only the governor to call special sessions.

Vick told the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning, “I became aware that we didn’t have that ability. It seemed like to maintain the balance of power between the legislative branch and the executive branch, it’d be a good idea, and so I started working on that.” Vick said Idaho is one of just seven states where lawmakers don’t have a way to override a post-session veto. The majority of states can, he said, “Either because they have full-time legislatures, or the ability to call special sessions, or some way to override a governor’s veto.” Vick previously served in the Montana Legislature, which has a system in which lawmakers are polled, without reconvening, for possible post-session veto overrides.

The committee voted to introduce the bill, clearing the way for a possible full hearing; to amend the Constitution, the measure would need two-thirds support from each house of the Legislature plus majority support from voters at the next general election.

This is the third amendment to the Idaho Constitution that Vick has proposed in his two terms in the Senate. The first, to amend the Constitution to limit legislative sessions to 80 days a year, didn’t get a committee hearing. The second, to require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, cleared the House State Affairs Committee two years ago, but died after failing to receive the required two-thirds support in the full House.