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Governor to sign or veto some 800 bills

September 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California) has hundreds of bills to sign or veto by Wednesday, or they will automatically become law.Usually a governor has an entire month to review hundreds of bills the state legislature sends him. This year, the governor is burning the midnight oil.

While signing two bills that will help remove toxic chemicals from consumer products on Monday, the governor talked about having only a week to sign or veto some 800 bills. The late state budget shortened his window.

"I've actually sat in my house since there's a short period of time that I've had to do the bill-signing. So I sit at my house sometimes late at night and I do bill-signing," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Among the other bills the governor has approved, Schwarzenegger is allowing the courts to order ignition locks for DUI offenders whose blood alcohol levels are below a point-two-oh (.20).

In addition, as of the first of the year, hanging a GPS from your windshield will be legal.

With one day to go before his deadline, the governor is being picky about what he signs.

"Sometimes, there's bills that are not just regular bills. These are big bills, major bills that move the state of California forward," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

The governor, though, is on pace to break his record of 311 vetoes in one year. What's painful about his veto messages to lawmakers this year is it's in a standard form letter, saying the governor is signing only the highest priority bills.

Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) has received three veto letters and counting.

"Ordinary Californians take the time to travel here to the Capitol to testify, to write letters, to make phone calls, to organize. And to have all that work come down to a form-letter veto, I think, is very disappointing for people," said Jones.

Among the proposals the governor rejected is one that would have prohibited insurance companies from charging as much as $5 to mail out your statement. The governor also vetoed a bill named after rap star Kanye West's mother, Donda, who died during liposuction; the bill would have required mandatory physicals before plastic surgery

Steffini Ban thinks there's an upside to the vetoes. She can still drive around with her dog, Louie, on her lap after the governor refused to ban the practice.

"He's comfortable there. He likes hanging out the window. I've never been in an accident in my life. I'm a very safe driver. I'm cautious," said Ban.

The governor insists he didn't veto proposals to get back at anyone for a late state budget. Anything he doesn't get to by midnight Tuesday automatically becomes law at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

 

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