SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah legislative leaders are polling lawmakers to see if they want to meet for a special session to override Gov. Gary Herbert's decision to veto three bills this week.
The Republican governor on Wednesday vetoed three bills dealing with legislative subpoenas, parental review of curriculum and government fee-assessment areas.
Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to be in favor of meeting in order to have an override session, which is required by law to start May 12.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said a decision should be ready by April 14.
"We just started polling members," Niederhauser said Thursday. "I won't have a good indication until the last day because most everybody waits until the last day."
The governor's decision to veto the bills was not a surprise because the governor expressed concerns about them ahead of time, Niederhauser said.
At a news conference Wednesday following his vetoes, Herbert said the proposals concerned him because they had unintended consequences, particularly the measure that would have strengthened the Legislature's subpoena power.
The legislation could violate a person's civil rights because it barred people from challenging a legislative subpoena in court, he said.
The proposal came about after legislators said they spent thousands of taxpayer dollars in court last year trying to enforce subpoenas as part of an investigation of Utah's former attorney general.
Taylorsville Republican Rep. Jim Dunnigan, who oversaw the legislature's $4 million probe, said the court challengers were expensive and delayed investigators.
Dunnigan said Thursday that the issue is a priority for legislators and they would try to take it up again, either during an override session or during their regular meetings next January.
The school-curriculum bill Herbert vetoed would have tasked an existing parent committee with reviewing complaints about school curriculum and classroom materials.
The parent committee, which reviews questions for computer-based tests, didn't want to field those complaints, Herbert said. The complaints should instead go to local school boards, which create curriculum for their schools, he said.
The measure was also opposed by the state school board and the Utah PTA.
The third bill Herbert vetoed was a technical bill, which would have put a moratorium on local governments designating areas to levy fees in order to pay for special projects, such as putting in sidewalks or street lighting.
The governor said the bill unintentionally delayed six natural-gas projects in rural Utah that were ready to go, so he vetoed it.
Whether or not legislators call a veto-override session this year, Herbert said he anticipates he'll have to call legislators into a special session to address Medicaid.
Herbert's administration has been negotiating with federal officials for an alternative plan to expand the government insurance program under President Obama's health care law.
If Herbert strikes a deal with the Obama administration, he plans to take it back to the Legislature for approval.
Herbert is leading a trade mission to Mexico from April 7 to 10, and plans to travel to Washington, D.C., in late April to continue Medicaid talks.
That makes it unlikely he'd call legislators to address Medicaid before late April or early May.