I like to point out to people that elections have consequences. The bigger the office, the more consequences there are – and the election of Jerry Brown as Governor has already meant bad news for Californians, as he governs this state from the left. One of the Governor’s most significant powers is the authority to sign or veto legislation. Brown signing bad bills into law is not really surprising – for example, his signing of the so-dubbed “Dream Act” was something that he had promised to do on the campaign trail.
That having been said, in just the last few days, Governor Brown has used his veto powers to nuke several bills that I had assumed he would sign –terrible bills that (apparently) were so bad that Brown vetoed them – undoubtedly angering some liberal constituencies.
One such bill vetoed by the Governor was Senate Bill 168 by Senator Ellen Corbett. This bill, sent to his desk on a party line vote, would have made it illegal for petition circulators to be paid by the signature. The legislation was clearly intended to make it harder to qualify statewide ballot measures. In vetoing the bill, brown cited that the bill would favor “the wealthiest interests” because it would increase the costs of qualifying a measure. He also added in his message that, “It doesn’t seem very practical to me to create a system that makes productivity goals a crime.”
Also getting a veto from Brown was new regulation on businesses with 20 or greater employees, forcing them to provide “commute” benefits for their workers. In his veto message for SB 582 by Senator Leland Yee, Brown said that he believed that this bill created a new mandate on small businesses in a time of economic uncertainty (too bad the Governor doesn’t apply this standard evenly).
Finally, Brown gave the heave-ho to AB 455 by Assemblymember Nora Campos that said that any city in California that has a personnel or merit commission must allow labor unions in that city to appoint half of the members of those commissions. A totally outrageous pro-union bill that one would have expected Brown to sign – but he didn’t! Again, using GOP rhetoric, Brown indicated in his veto message that he opposed this bill because he believes in local control…
The symbolism of these three vetoes is high, and it is indicates that perhaps Brown will not be a 100% rubber stamp for every bad idea that the hyper-liberal legislature sends his way.
On a closing note, during all of the years of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Governorship, he would always manage to sign bills that should have been vetoed – and I would always be disappointed. As a Republican, I always tried to be optimistic where Schwarzenegger was concerned, which led to many disappointments. On the other hand, I find that I very much expect Governor Brown to sign every single bad bill on his desk. So vetoes like the ones I outlined above become individual causes for celebration — each a pleasant and unexpected surprise!