<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Once legislation has made its way through the lawmaking process, it comes to the governor’s desk for signature. If a governor signs the bill, it becomes law, and if the governor does not like the terms of the legislation he or she can veto, or reject, the entire bill. The bill can then become law only if a supermajority of legislators overrides the veto by voting in favor of the bill. Since it is difficult for two-thirds or more of state legislators to come together to override a veto (it requires many members of the governor’s own party to vote against him or her), the simple act of threatening to veto can be enough to get legislators to make concessions to the governor before he or she will pass the legislation.

The ability to veto legislation is just one of the formal powers    governors have at their disposal. Formal powers are powers the governor may exercise that are specifically outlined in state constitutions or state law.

Laura van Assendelft. 1997. Governors, Agenda Setting, and Divided Government. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Unlike U.S. presidents, many governors also have additional veto powers at their disposal, which enhances their ability to check the actions of the legislative branch. For instance, most states provide governors the power of the line-item veto. The line-item veto    gives governors the ability to strike out a line or individual portions of a bill while letting the remainder pass into law. In addition, approximately 30 percent of governors have the power of an amendatory veto    , which allows them to send a bill back to the legislature and request a specific amendment to it. Finally, a small number of governors, including the governor of Texas, also have the power of a reduction veto    , which allows them to reduce the budget proposed in a piece of legislation.
National Conference of State Legislatures. “The Veto Process.” In General Legislative Procedures . Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures, 6-29–6-64. http://www.ncsl.org/documents/legismgt/ilp/98tab6pt3.pdf (March 14, 2016).

The vanna white and frankenstein vetoes in wisconsin

Although the line-item, reduction, and amendatory vetoes give governors tremendous power to adjust legislation and to check the legislative branch, the most powerful and controversial vetoes, which have allowed governors to make selective deletions from a bill before signing, are dubbed the “Vanna White” veto and the “Frankenstein” veto. (Vanna White hosts the popular game show “Wheel of Fortune,” in which contestants guess what a phrase is based on a limited number of letters. As they guess the letters, White indicates the correct letters within the puzzle.) These powers have a colorful history in the state of Wisconsin, where voters have limited their influence on two occasions.

The first occurred in 1990 when voters passed a provision restricting the governor’s ability to use the “Vanna White” veto to change a bill by crossing out specific letters within a given word in order to create a new word. After this restriction took effect, the “Frankenstein” veto came into practice, which allowed a governor to remove individual words, numbers, or passages from a bill and string the remaining text together (like the fictional Dr. Frankenstein’s monster) in an effort to alter the original intent of the legislation.

Monica Davey, “Wisconsin Voters Excise Editing from Governor’s Veto Powers,” New York Times , 3 April 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/us/03wisconsin.html?_r=0.

As an example of the Frankenstein veto, when an appropriations bill was sent to Wisconsin governor James E. Doyle for signature in 2005, Doyle scrapped over seven hundred words from a passage that would have appropriated millions of dollars to transportation. The words that remained in the bill redirected those funds to education. Lawmakers were outraged, but they were not able to override the veto.

Daniel C. Vock. 24 April 2007. “Govs Enjoy Quirky Veto Power,” http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2007/04/24/govs-enjoy-quirky-veto-power.

Then, in 2007, Governor Doyle used the veto once again to raise property taxes almost 2 percent.

Steven Walters, “Voters Drive Stake into ‘Frankenstein Veto’,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , 2 April 2008. http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/29395824.html.
As a result of these controversial moves, the state house and senate passed a referendum to end the ability of governors to create a new sentence by combining words from two or more other sentences. A legislative referendum is a measure passed by the state legislature, such as a constitutional amendment, that goes to the voters for final approval.
National Conference of State Legislatures. 20 September 2012. “Initiative, Referendum and Recall,” http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/initiative-referendum-and-recall-overview.aspx.
This referendum went to the voters for approval or rejection in the 2008 election, and the voters banned the practice. Governors in Wisconsin and all the states still have tremendous power to shape legislation, however, through the other types of vetoes discussed in this chapter.

Should any state governor have the powers referred to as the “Vanna White” and “Frankenstein” vetoes? What advantage, if any, might state residents gain from their governor’s ability to alter the intent of a bill the legislature has approved and then sign it into law?

Questions & Answers

what's the difference between a Senate house and the parliament
Irene Reply
wat is decentralization
Irene Reply
Good question? its another way of emphasizing locality as a first principle value. assumed is self suffiency, sustainability, redundancy in critical systems but most of all it represents an individual citizens liberty; our rights, a dependence from and freedom from centralized power.
Lance
tnx
Irene
it's also assumed that this freedom is critical to our ability and advantages to be resilient. our full capacity to adapt w out any headwinds or yoke from an over reaching central world power as found in empires and dynasties or for example global neoliberalism virus.
Lance
Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right? Why or why not?
Richard Reply
meaning of civil service
Omohowho Reply
create the most between the competing value of indivualism and limited government
Dora Reply
civil liberties basic freedoms while civil rights are basic right to free from discrimination based on characteristics of race, disability, color national origin, gender, and other..
Sexy Reply
yes I think so
Omohowho
what is the categories of federalism
Official Reply
hi
Austin
yh
Irene
what is racism
Favour Reply
international political economy
Diana Reply
I'm not sure what this app is again, I'm over worked, tired, alone and I have a slight cold. my neighbor jumped me and sucker punched me yesterday, and today I'm trying to keep the tooth that took the hit. My exwife is in jail, her trailer impounded, and the dogs are @ The City Pound. 😢😥😴
Shannon
you sure it's a cold 😷 not covid 19
Don
well I think the Real Truth About COVID-19 Is... Alchohol, the info and numbers all line up. AA has infiltrated the US Government. And Since I'm Getting into Recovery for Drugs and I'm No longer an Alcoholic, it's a conspiracy to keep me from using Alchohol to aid in my Drug Recovery. But ....
Shannon
let's just keep this between us. ;) No Ask No Tell, OK?
Shannon
I know nothing but here's a little secret from a recovering alcoholic/addict once an alcoholic always an alcoholic you can treat the symptoms but never be cured I wish you the best of luck tho my friend if you ever need someone to help you through a rough spot let me know
Don
Ya shuts this is coming to me from an government app you'll help me right dawn on to my face and then laugh at me and say you bring it all on your self I'll be sure to call on you when I need help like to 200.00 a month and can't work the help you already give me shure thing
Luretta
what's are the features,merits and demerits of power
Emmanuela Reply
the most loyal supporters of democrats are
Paulina Reply
the intent to push polls is to
Ivan Reply
I cannot seem to find a clear answer to why the house is stronger than the senate, and every guess I make the check answer says is wrong.
girunit Reply
What is foreign policy
WONDERS Reply
What is government
WONDERS
What is a supreme court
WONDERS
Who is a solicitor
WONDERS
Three majors the National Liberation council adopted to transfer powers to the civilian government
Boateng
What is bureaucracy
WONDERS Reply

Get the best American government course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'American government' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask