Gov. Mike Leavitt finished reviewing the 317 bills passed by the 1993 Legislature well before Tuesday's midnight deadline, deciding to veto four more bills and a line-item in the appropriations act.
He let four other bills take effect without his signature, including a controversial bill permitting night hunting of skunks, red foxes, coyotes and raccoons.Supporters of that bill, HB79, "Limited Night Hunting," said it is the only effective way to control nocturnal predators. But Leavitt said he had "real concerns about the safety of night hunting."
Leavitt had already announced he would veto two bills, one dealing with insurance regulations and another with a state fund that would have distributed property taxes to the school districts with severe overcrowding.
The governor's first-ever veto in office, SB2, "Disability Insurance Amendments," came during the legislative session but attracted little attention from lawmakers or the media.
The bill would have forced the insurance industry to spend as much as $1 million reprinting disability insurance forms so some information appeared in bold type.
Leavitt, whose family owns the Leavitt Group, one of the nation's largest insurance groups, vetoed the bill but ordered the requirement to be phased in through the state rulemaking process.
It was his second veto that stirred teachers in at least two school districts to threaten a walkout and more than 700 Utahns to jam the phone lines to the governor's office.
That veto of SB199, "Education Capital Outlay and Debt Service Amendments," was announced last Friday. On Monday, Leavitt outlined an alternative plan to come up with money to ease overcrowding in the state's schools.
He is calling lawmakers into special session March 31 to consider his plan that would eventually remove sales and other tax exemptions granted to business and in-dustry to pay for the needed classrooms.
On Tuesday, the governor finished signing a number of bills, including HB85, "Recognizing Constitutional Freedom in School," during special ceremonies with the legislation's supporters.
That bill spells out the role religion can play in public schools, such as in history lessons. It specifies that school-sponsored prayers are not permitted. The bill takes effect May 1.
Among the bills Leavitt vetoed Tuesday was one on his own priority list of legislation, SB67, "Employee Information Regarding Tobacco Smoke Hazards." The bill had been proposed by the state Department of Health.
The bill would have required businesses to provide information to workers on the dangers of being exposed to cigarette smoke. Leavitt called the bill onerous to employers while providing little benefit to employees.
He also vetoed HB217, "Motor Vehicle Insurance Database." The bill would have required the insurance industry to provide policy information to the state to help identify uninsured motorists.
Leavitt said the bill was a good idea, but his knowledge of the insurance industry made him wary about "setting off a bureaucratic nightmare we can't control" because the technology is not yet good enough to do the job.
Other bills vetoed by the governor were SB270, "House Inspection Registration," and HB202, "Credit Life and Disability Insurance Premium Amendments."
The housing bill created a "fairly substantial barrier" to inspectors entering the market because of a financial requirement, Leavitt said, and the credit bill would have hurt consumers.
The other bills Leavitt allowed to take effect without his signature were SB90, "Utah Science Center"; SB219, "Municipal Disconnection Amendment"; and HB396, "Public School Dispute Resolution Act."
The governor said he was attempting to send lawmakers "signals" by not signing those bills. For example, he said he does not intend for the science center to became a long-term state project.
The line-item veto exercised by the governor was to eliminate duplicate funding for a $9,900 project in the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Governor's actions on bills
SB2--Disability Insurance Amendments
SB67--Employee Information Regarding Tobacco Smoke Hazards
SB199--Education Capital Outlay and Debt Service Amendments
SB270--House Inspection Registration
HB202--Credit Life and Disability Insurance Premium Amendments
HB217--Motor Vehicle Insurance Database
HB337--Appropriations Act, line item veto of duplicate $9,900 appropriation
Allowed to take effect without signature:
SB90--Utah Science Center
SB219--Municipal Connection Amendment
HB79--Limited Night Hunting
HB396--Public School Dispute Resolution Act