Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Strickland Vetoes First Bill within 16 Hours of Taking Office

The Columbus Dispatch noted in the story linked to in this entry's title that in his first 16 hours after taking the oath of office, Ted Strickland issued tough ethics regulations for his administration. His regulations are stricter than the law passed by the General Assembly. He also did something that took former Governor Robert Taft four years to do and that was veto a bill. In the waning days of the last session of the General Assembly, the Republicans passed a bill that limited damages for lead paint manufactuers. The bill was then sent to Taft, who neither signed it nor issued a veto. Instead his plan was to allow this bill to become law without his signature. Under the Ohio Constitution, a governor has 10 days to either sign the bill or veto the bill. If he does neither, then the bill becomes law without his signature.

Now, in this case, Taft believed that since the General Assembly ended his session on December 26, 2006, the ten days started then and consequently would end on January 6, 2007, before Strickland took office. The problem for the Republicans, though, is that while the General Assembly ended its session on December 26th, the bill wasn't received in the Governor's office until December 28th, 2006. By this calculation, the ten day period had not yet expired when Strickland issued his veto. Naturally, of course, Republicans are outraged by this position and are vowing to wage "war" against Strickland.

What's important isn't whether Strickland is right or wrong. What's important is that he just showed the GOP-led General Assembly that he won't be pushed around and that he will use his powers to stop them from unilaterally enacting their agenda. If the Republicans in the General Assembly thought they could bully Ted Strickland, they just got a quick lesson in gubernatorial prerogatives. Let's hope they heed it.

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