Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PA Supreme Court Upholds Part Of Senate Challenge To Governor’s Veto Authority On Procedural Grounds

The PA Supreme Court Wednesday issued an opinion reversing a Commonwealth Court ruling and upheld the Senate challenge to the veto of certain provisions of a Fiscal Code bill in 2014 by Gov. Corbett.
The challenge was brought by Senators Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Senate President Pro Tempore; Jake Corman (R-Centre), Senate Majority Leader; and Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Senate Minority Leader.
The PA Supreme Court’s decision, however, turned on a procedural issue and not on whether the Governor’s line-item veto authority actually extends to the Fiscal Code.  
The Court found the Governor did not follow the proper procedure for filing his veto with the General Assembly because the House and Senate had adjourned at the time.
Since the Governor did not follow the proper procedure and issue a formal proclamation as notice of his veto, the bill was never line-itemed vetoed.
The Court said, “Having determined that the Governor’s purported partial vetoes of the FCA and the GAA failed, we have no occasion to resolve whether the Governor’s line-item veto authority of Article IV, Section 16 extends to the FCA. The veto was ineffective in its entirety in any event. Accordingly, resolution of the last issue before us must await another day.”
The issue is significant because the General Assembly has piled more and more provisions in Fiscal Code bills directing the executive branch to take actions that were not otherwise passed by the General Assembly on their own.
Click Here for a copy of the opinion.

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