Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s petition to intervene in the lawsuit challenging his veto of the grocery tax bill repeal has been granted by the Idaho Supreme Court. That will allow Otter to make his own arguments in defense of the validity of the veto, rather than leaving that task to Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, the target of the lawsuit.
A group of state lawmakers contended that Otter’s April 11 veto was too late, falling after a 10-day deadline from the adjournment of the legislative session. But the Idaho Supreme Court held in 1978 that the clock starts ticking on that 10-day deadline for post-legislative session vetoes not when the Legislature adjourns for the year, but when the bill actually is presented to the governor. By that measure, the governor’s veto came on the 9th day.
If the governor’s veto were held to be invalid, the bill would become law – and Idaho would remove its 6 percent sales tax from groceries.
The high court’s order today allows Otter to submit briefing and make arguments. The court will hear oral arguments in the case on June 15.