Item-Reduction Veto Constitutional Amendment


Currently, governors in 43 states have the authority to reduce state spending through the use of the line-item veto. This authority allows governors to prevent, or at least moderate, "pork-barrel" spending. The theory behind the line-item veto is that the executive, elected by the whole, can more easily stand up to regional and special interests than legislators. Of the 43 states with line-item vetoes, 10 states grant governors the item reduction veto. The item-reduction veto allows governors to reduce spending without striking the entire amount. The theory behind the item-reduction veto is that the executive will not be forced into a take-it or leave-it offer and will therefore find it easier to control spending.  This Act calls for a constitutional provision giving the Governor the power to remove any item or items in whole or in part of any bill, approved by the legislature, making appropriations of money. The approved parts will become law and the rejected parts will become void.

Item-Reduction Veto Constitutional Amendment

Model Amendment

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. This Act may be cited as the Item-Reduction Veto Constitutional Amendment.

Section 2. For the purposes of this Section, Article [insert number] of the Constitution of the State shall be amended by striking Section [insert number] in its entirety and substituting the following:

Section 3. Every bill that shall have passed both Houses of the legislature shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the Governor; if the Governor approves, he/she shall sign it; but if he/she shall not approve, he/she shall return it with his/her objections to the House in which it shall have originated. The respective House shall enter the objections at large on the journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, [three-fifths, two-thirds] of all members elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent together with the objections to the other chamber, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered. If approved by [three-fifths, two-thirds] of all the members elected to that chamber, it shall become law. However, in neither House shall the vote be taken on the day on which the bill would be returned to the floor. In all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the member voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill is not returned by the Governor within [insert days], Sundays excepted, after it would have been presented to him/her, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he/she had signed it, an exception would apply if the legislature would, by final adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it would not become a law without the approval of the Governor.

Section 4. No bill shall become a law after the final adjournment of the legislature, unless approved by the Governor within [insert days] after such adjournment. The Governor shall have power to disapprove or reduce any item or items in whole or in part of any bill making appropriations of money, embracing distinct items, and the part or parts of the bill approved shall be the law, and the item or items of appropriation disapproved shall be void, unless re-passed according to the rules and limitations prescribed for the passage of other bills, over the executive veto. Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of both Houses of the legislature may be necessary, except on a question of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor, and before the same shall take effect be approved by him/her, or being disapproved by him/her, shall be re-passed by [three-fifths, two-thirds] of all the members elected to each House of the legislature, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

For any disapproved dollar amount, the Governor shall replace the dollar amount with one that does not result in an increase in an appropriation or allocation or a decrease in a deappropriation or deallocation.

In approving an appropriation bill in part, the governor may not create a new word by rejecting individual letters in the words of the enrolled bill, and may not create a new sentence by combining part of 2 or more sentences of the enrolled bill. Each dollar amount vetoed must be voted on separately to override the veto.

Section 5. {Severability clause.} 

Section 6. {Repealer clause.}

Section 7. {Effective date.}