There could be a legal problem with Gov. Butch Otter’s as-yet unannounced veto of SB 1011, the instant racing repeal bill. Otter reportedly took action on the bill over the weekend, by the 4:54 p.m. deadline on Saturday. But state law, in Idaho Code 67-504, has this to say about vetoes once lawmakers have adjourned for the day, but not for the session:
“RETURN OF BILL DURING ADJOURNMENT. If, on the day the governor desires to return a bill without his approval and with his objections thereto to the house in which it originated, that house has adjourned for the day (but not for the session), he may deliver the bill with his message to the presiding officer, clerk, or any member of such house, and such delivery is as effectual as though returned in open session, if the governor, on the first day the house is again in session, by message notifies it of such delivery, and of the time when, and the person to whom, such delivery was made.”
Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said he’s aware of the issue, and he and other top Senate GOP leaders were headed into a meeting with Otter’s chief of staff David Hensley; in the meantime, the 1:30 p.m. convening of the Senate has been delayed.
Bill Roden, attorney, lobbyist for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and former state senator, said, “If it’s not returned in time, the veto isn’t effective.” Hill, when asked if Otter presented the vetoed bill to him, to the clerk, or to any member of the Senate on Saturday, said, “Not that I know of.”