Gov. Gary Herbert, legislative leaders agree to avoid override votes on 3 of 4 vetoed bills
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert and legislative leaders appear to have resolved issues surrounding three of the four vetoed bills that could be reconsidered during next week's override session.
"We worked out good solutions on three of the four bills," Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said. "We've got to give him credit for solving problems."
Herbert himself told legislators about the settlements on the three bills in a letter released late Thursday night that also details his concerns about SB229, a bill earmarking 30 percent of future additional sales-tax collections for roads.
On HB328, a bill that would have ended the state's four-day workweek, the governor reminded lawmakers he has already signed an executive order mandating that by Oct. 1, state agencies will have to provide critical services on Fridays, in person, online or by telephone.
Another executive order has been readied to deal with SB305, a bill intended to use the Internet to align education with employer needs, Herbert said. The order also adds four new business representatives to the Utah Futures Steering Committee.
SB294, a bill that would result in changes to insurance premiums as well as the types of plans companies can offer in Utah, will be on the call of a future special session "to be called as soon as practicable," the governor promised.
The letter comes amid increasing friction between the GOP governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature about the rare override session. Herbert faces another election next year and has been called weak politically by a tea party organizer.
The governor has criticized SB229 as "bad policy," saying lawmakers were "just taking numbers out of the sky" without considering the impact on other state needs, especially education.
Lawmakers are grumbling that Herbert also said he was opposed to a gas tax hike as an alternative to setting aside sales tax dollars, warning it would hurt the state's "fragile economy."
Waddoups said a gas tax increase is an option. "We're going to have to have more money for roads," the Senate president said.
As for whether Herbert would back the boost, Waddoups said, "I bet he will in two years." That would be after the governor's next election.
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