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First Legislative Victory: General Assembly Overrides Veto of Bill Requiring Notice to Public of Emergency Regulations

January 11, 2005: On Tuesday, January 11th, the General Assembly voted to override the Governor's veto of Senate Bill 309 and House Bill 429. These bills were intended to reduce the ability of state agencies to enact regulations without public scrutiny by calling them "emergency" regulations.  With the veto override, the bills will go into effect and will help ensure that citizens and their advocates will find out about proposed emergency regulations before they become law.  The bills:

  • require that proposed emergency regulations be posted promptly on the General Assembly’s website, and sent by email or snail mail to any citizen who requests them.
  • require that emergency regulations may not go into effect until at least 10 days after they are proposed, giving time for citizens to call their legislators and ask for a public hearing.
  • give the AELR Committee the authority to vote separately on any distinct provision of any regulation, rather than having to accept or reject a group of regulations that are bundled together.

The Public Justice Center led the charge on this bill last year  -- Laurie Norris drafted the bill and provided the substantive expertise and support, John Nethercut wrote and delivered the hearing testimony and supportive materials, and Kevin Slayton lobbied the bills through both houses.  Advocates for business interests and citizen groups joined together in support of these bills, and Republican and Democratic legislators together overwhelmingly agreed that these additional provisions are necessary for open and honest government. These are good government bills, regardless of who or which party currently occupies the Governor’s mansion. Both bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last year, but were vetoed by the Governor because he stated that the additional powers given to legislative oversight would infringe on executive authority. The override vote was also strong.

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