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Governor Herbert exercises veto power

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has exercised his rarely-used veto power in striking down two bills he writes in a letter to legislative leaders “are contrary to the notion of separation of powers.”

H.B. 198 would have forced the Utah Attorney General to give a written legal opinion to the legislature when requested.  The bill is, in part, a result of lawmakers disagreeing with Herbert over how to conduct the special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in Congress. State law already requires the A.G. to give opinions when requested.

The other bill vetoed is S.B. 171.  It would have given lawmakers $700,000 a year to defend laws they created if challenged in court.  The monies would pay for three attorneys, a paralegal and a legal secretary.  Herbert contends that job is currently part of the Attorney General’s duties.

Herbert writes, allowing legislators to prepare and argue their own legal strategy in challenges to state law would be “akin to the governor filing his own bills.”