It looks like Bruce Babbitt is going to remain the last Arizona governor to have a veto overridden, at least for the time being.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, told Capitol Media Services he decided not to ask his chamber to override a measure vetoed last month by Gov. Doug Ducey making technical corrections in state statutes. That was one of 22 measures vetoed a month ago by the governor because he was unhappy with legislative progress on the budget.
Instead, the House voted simply to re-enact the same language, tacking it on to another bill.
Bowers’ decision comes less than a week after the Senate voted 25-5 to instead bypass Ducey’s veto and enact the law despite it. That was more than the two-thirds vote needed for an override.
Sen. Tyler Pace, R-Mesa, who led that charge, acknowledged there is nothing controversial in the measure.
In fact it had been approved unanimously earlier this year. And there was no reason to believe that a re-enactment would have failed.
But Pace told colleagues it was important to send a message to Ducey and remind him that, given the constitutional power of legislative override, his word is not necessarily the last word.
“I really appreciate the Senate,” Bowers told Capitol Media Services when asked about his decision.
“They’re moving in a very slow, thoughtful fashion,” he said. But Bowers said he thought that the Senate “had gotten that maybe a little backwards.”
So he opted instead to simply have a vote to send it back to Ducey.
And what of the need to send a message reminding the governor of the authority of the legislature?
“I reminded him,” Bowers said of Ducey. “We had a chat.”
His decision means the Senate now has to follow suit and have a regular vote to re-enact the original measure.
What it also means is that the last override in Arizona remains 1981.
That followed a decision by Babbitt, a Democrat, to veto decisions of the Republican-controlled legislature on how to redraw lines for legislative and congressional districts.
The House, with 41 Republicans out of 60 members, had no problem marshaling the override votes.
In the Senate, four Democrats in the 30-member Senate agreed to vote with the 16 Republicans to provide an override margin. In exchange, the GOP majority agreed to preserve the rural nature of the Democrats’ districts.