Indiana’s governor has the weakest veto power of any governor in the United States, but legislators may consider a proposal to change that.
Indiana is one of just seven states where the governor must make an all-or-nothing choice to sign or veto bills, and it’s the only one of those seven states where a simple majority in the House and Senate is enough to override the veto. Republican Senator Jim Banks considered a constitutional amendment to create a line-item veto, but decided to go further.
“After a couple of years in the legislature, you realize quickly you have to make decisions about bills that might have something that you think is good, and a lot of things that are bad,” he says. “So I tried to create a paradigm where a governor could strike out aspects of new regulations.”
He’s proposed a power only eight governors have – to send a bill back with amendments. The bill would die unless legislators either agreed to accept the amendments or re-approved the original bill. Banks says the “amendatory veto” would discourage legislators from loading up bills with extra amendments.
But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane fears the bulked-up veto would turn governors into micromanagers. He says the House and Senate already have to haggle over exact language and funding in a bill, and he says adding the governor to the mix would complicate matters.
“I’m not wild about the idea of having another major cook in the stew, you might say,” he says. “It would seem to me if you give him a line-item veto, that’s exactly what you have – a third party who’s going to come in now and basically say, ‘I’m going to take this out, take this out, take this out.”
Banks’ amendment would first have to pass the legislature a second time after lawmakers face reelection in 2014 and then go to the voters for final approval in 2016.