By Cynthia Davis
In the United States, the governor can use veto power to prevent a bill passed by the legislature from becoming law, and every state constitution empowers the governor to veto an entire bill. During the 2023 legislative session Governor Joe Lombardo rejected 75 bills passed by the democrat-controlled legislature; more than any other Nevada Governor, in a single session, with Gov. Jim Gibbons-R coming-in second with 48 vetoed bills in 2009, and Brian Sandoval-R, who vetoed 97 bills across eight years in office.
Governor Lombardo stated “Democrats passed legislation that raised taxes, eroded constitutional rights, and expanded bureaucracy, among countless other examples of government overreach.”
Lombardo’s camp assures that the number of vetoes against policies he believed would violate constitutional rights, get in the way of business, or expand government into places it should not be is a direct reflection of bills that did not serve the best interest of all Nevadans.
Below are just a handful of the 75 vetoes. To see all please visit https://gov.nv.gov/
SB 239: Would have allowed for physician-assisted suicide in the state of Nevada for patients older than 18 who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition by at least two doctors. Partial veto message: “The bill is “unnecessary” due to expansions and improvements in palliative care services and pain management. Given recent progress in science and medicine and the fact that only a small number of states and jurisdictions allow for similar end-of-life protocols, I am not comfortable supporting this bill.”
SB 171: Would have prohibited a person from purchasing, owning or having a gun if the person had been convicted of offenses that constitute a hate crime within the last 10 years.
AB 354: Would have prohibited a person from having a firearm within 100’ of an election site.
AB 355: Would have made it a gross misdemeanor for a person younger than 21 years old to have a semiautomatic shotgun or semi automatic rifle.
The Office of the Governor returned the firearm bills explaining his veto justification to the Senate and Assembly. “I will not support legislation that infringes on the constitutional rights of Nevadans,” said Governor Joe Lombardo. “As I stated in my letters, much of the legislation I vetoed is in direct conflict with legal precedent and established constitutional protections. Therefore, I cannot support them.”
SB 404: Would have revised the procedure for poll watchers to challenge a voter’s proof of residency and would have allowed ballots to be counted beginning on the first day of early voting, rather than starting on Election Day. Partial veto message: “By restricting a voter’s ability to challenge another voter’s eligibility it would serve to decrease confidence in elections.”
AB 144: Ban on fluorescent light bulbs. Veto message: “Another example of strict and unnecessary regulation that eliminates consumer choice without need to do so.”
SB 302: Protect healthcare providers offering gender affirming care. Partial veto message: “It inhibits the Executive Branch’s ability to be certain that all gender-affirming care related to minors comports with State law and decreases its authority to ensure the highest public health and child safety standards for Nevadans.”
SB 20: Relating to counties; changing the appointment process for filling vacant seats on the county commission by allowing counties to give the Governor two potential appointees to choose from. Veto message “This is an overreach intended to upset the established balance between Nevada’s county commissions and the Executive Branches appointment authority. Under existing law the Governor is allowed to appoint any person to a vacancy seat as long as the appointee is the same political party.”
AB 464: This bill appropriates $1.55 million to the Legislative Fund to pay for planning costs for building renovations for legislative buildings. In his veto message, Lombardo criticized a “Lack of transparency in the appropriation, calling for more clarity on precisely how the money would be spent and on what projects.”
AB 251: Pharmacies to dispense prescriptions with information about the medication and how to take it in the 10 most commonly spoken languages in Nevada.
AB 520: This bill, known as the Appropriations Act, is one of five bills comprising the state’s budget. A sweeping budget implementation bill, the act includes more than $7 billion in separate appropriations. On the flip-side, 536 bills were signed reminding us that bipartisanship is alive and well. “I’m excited by the meaningful legislation my administration was able to pass in our first legislative session,” said Governor Joe Lombardo. “I signed long-awaited school safety reforms (AB 330), a historic education budget and accountability measures (AB 400), and also common-sense public safety policies (SB 412) – all while ensuring Nevadans faced no new taxes and making unprecedented investments into state savings accounts.”
Governor Lombardo succeeded in:
•Keeping his commitment of no new taxes and vetoing all proposed new taxes
•Cutting taxes for Nevada businesses
•Offering more school choice options
•Paying down state debt
•Paying state employees a fairer wage
•Providing historic education funding and ensuring stricter accountability measures within schools
•Ensuring safer schools and enacting anti-school violence policies
•Directing more funding to higher education and workforce development programs
•Re-energizing economic development
•Returning to sensible criminal justice reform
•Building more capacity in mental health services throughout the state
Governor Joe Lombardo stated “Nevadans elected me to protect and serve our state – which includes protecting Nevadans from harmful and dangerous legislation. So, while I’m proud of the legislation we were able to pass this session, I’m also confident in my decision to veto bills that did not serve the best interest of all Nevadans.”
To see all 536 passing bills, please visit https://www.leg.state.nv.us/.