Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

House, Senate Override Gov. Veto ; Original Bill Passed Easily

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

House, Senate Override Gov. Veto ; Original Bill Passed Easily

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana lawmakers made an unprecedented one-day visit to the Statehouse on Wednesday to override one of Gov. Mike Pence's three vetoes. The House and Senate each voted to trump the governor and force into law a bill that includes a series of minor tax changes - including the retroactive approval of local income taxes collected in Jackson and Pulaski counties.

The bill drew next to no attention during the General Assembly's four-month 2013 budget-writing session, as lawmakers said the measure simply corrected mistakes. Pence elevated it, though, using his veto power and calling it a tax hike.

That led the Republican-dominated House and Senate to return - for the first time ever - on their "technical correction day," which is reserved for cleaning up grammatical mistakes in laws they've just passed, for a veto override vote. It was a "somewhat historic event," said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

The House voted 68-23 and the Senate voted 34-12 to override Pence's veto. Republicans largely broke with Pence and sided with their legislative leaders, while Democrats, all of whom voted for the bill initially, said Pence had a fair point.

"In the day-to-day administration of government, sometimes you have to make judgment calls that are not entirely clear-cut," said Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman, R- Lafayette, who shepherded the bill through the Senate.

Both House and Senate leaders said their votes were not intentional efforts to rebuke the governor.

Still, the state leaves its legislature the upper hand by giving the governor severely limited veto power. Unlike the supermajorities required in some other states, it takes just a simple majority of the House and Senate - in other words, a recasting of the same vote that passed the bill in the first place - to override a veto in Indiana.

But using the "technical correction day" to do it was a first.

Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said if he'd understood the issues Pence raised during the session, he'd have voted against the bill. He said it's "a bill fraught with errors, and condoning the unlawful collection of taxes is a terrible precedent. …

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