Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, wants to make Idaho look a little more like Montana, at least in terms of public policy.
Vick, a second-term senator who served in the Montana Legislature before coming to the Gem State, is crafting legislation aimed at giving lawmakers a second chance on any legislation vetoed by the governor after the annual legislative session concludes each year.
It’s a feature of government Montana offers, but Idaho doesn’t.
During his first year in office in Idaho, Vick was “shocked” to learn that the state’s Legislature didn’t automatically facilitate another try at bills for lawmakers.
“That’s just not right,” Vick said.
Some of the most important bills, the senator continued, pass in the final few days of each session, and not having the special override power limits lawmakers and gives too much power to the executive branch.
Here’s how Vick would eventually like the system to work: If Idaho legislators pass a bill with a two-thirds majority and then the governor vetoes it after the regular session, legislators would be automatically called back to Boise to vote again on the measure.
Others differ on how Idaho might implement such a practice. In discussions, Vick said that some want the power to call the override session to reside with the speaker of the House and the Senate pro tem. Vick would prefer electronic voting to preserve time for lawmakers and expense for taxpayers.
Vick has a tough road to attain passage for the measure. First, he must craft the language to win two-thirds approval from the House and the Senate. From there, the measure, as a constitutional amendment, will head to voters’ ballots in November, where it must win a simple majority.
So far, though, Vick said he’s found willing ears. “I really haven’t run into resistance.”
Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, wholeheartedly supported Vick’s proposal in an interview with IdahoReporter.com.
“For me, that one was a forehead-slapper,” Hagedorn said. “Why haven’t we been doing that already?”
Hagedorn, like Vick, suggested that not arming lawmakers with the special override power gives the governor’s office extra leverage in the final days of the session. “We really need to come back in and address those bills,” he said.
Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, also endorsed Vick’s idea. “It does intrigue me a bit,” he said.
Vick clarified, though, that his idea is a move for good public policy, not an attempt to limit the power of
Gov. Butch Otter. “By the time this passes, who knows who could be governor,” he said.
Vick plans to introduce the legislation in the next few weeks.