Governor vetoes 3 bills passed by the Utah State Legislature

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Governor Gary Herbert vetoed three bills passed by the Utah State Legislature this year. He also allowed three more to go into law without his signature.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the governor said he felt good about the overall legislative session.

"We've had good policy, good legislation that's passed," he said.

Gov. Herbert said 486 bills were passed by the Utah State Legislature. Of that, only 459 required him to take action. Three got his veto:

  • HB 102, Area Assessment Amendments, would have harmed projects in eastern Utah, Gov. Herbert claimed;
  • SB 257 dealt with parental complaints over school curriculum;
  • HB 414 gave the legislature broader subpoena power in investigations.


HB 414 came out of the House investigation into the scandal surrounding former Utah Attorney General John Swallow. Lawmakers complained they had been stymied by disappearing documents and data and the bill gave them greater subpoena power. On Wednesday, Gov. Herbert said he believed it went too far -- intruding on civil rights.

"It's one thing to fix a technical problem in a bill," the governor said. "It's another thing to pass a bill that will absolutely violate people's civil rights, and that's the big concern for me."

HB 414's sponsor, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, insisted that "due process is still provided for." He told FOX 13 News that he would bring the bill back, possibly next year.

"I think it's still needed, we need to find a way to have people respond in a timely manner to a legally issued subpoena," Dunnigan said.

Education groups like the PTA and the Utah State School Board opposed SB 257, which would have had a parent committee review complaints about curriculum. Gov. Herbert said he believed it should be handled on a more local level, where curriculum is decided.

"I felt like those complaints should, in fact, be allowed to happen, but they should go to the local school boards which creates the curriculum and purchases the textbooks. It ought not be at a state level," he said.

In a statement Wednesday, the Utah PTA agreed.

"Curriculum is implemented at the local level and therefore best addressed there," said Utah PTA President-Elect Dawn Davies. "We hope this will open the conversation to acknowledge the process that Schools, Districts and Charters have in place for parents to address their concerns about curriculum."

Gov. Herbert did make a line-item veto in the state budget for a duplicate line. He also allowed three bills to pass into law without his signature based on assurances he said he was given that modifications will be made.

The governor expressed concern that the Utah State Legislature rushed through many bills without adequate public input -- bills he signed, anyway.

"I am concerned that we are doing a little bit too much," he said. "The last day of the session they passed 157 bills.

A list of all the bills passed in the Utah State Legislature can be found here.


  • MQB3

    414: Correct move. The Legislature doesn’t need more power to issue subpoenas. If it’s a criminal investigation then a prosecutor or law enforcement officials need to swear out a warrant based on probable cause. My understanding is that the Swallow investigation is a criminal one.

    257: BAD move. Educating children is the responsibility of parents. Parents need MORE oversight over the curriculum, not less. They’re OUR kids, it’s OUR government, they’re OUR schools, and WE are paying for it all. Herbert is just another RINO supporting Big Government.

    • D Fisher

      It’s not the state’s responsibility to take care of your kids education and that’s what it does. If you want changes in your area it’s your responsibility to be more active in the education board and school districts. Parent’s have power like voters do. If you allow yourself to be idle or uneducated in the issues causing something to fail or go through that hurts everyone then it’s your fault just as much as anyone else. If the PTA is opposing it then the active parents obviously don’t think it’s a good idea.

  • Charles Treft

    Our governor made a mistake with vetoing SB 257. I am a retired teacher and though it has been years since I was in the classroom, I see more and more mandates coming out of Washington D.C. dictating that which is taught in our class rooms. I also regret his assumption that parents should have no input on their child’s education. Are we to be like Germany or Russia in 1930 where the children had to recite political propaganda or be totally humiliated when they tried to be independent thinkers?
    I taught during a time when concerned parents could come to me and we could discuss what was being taught and what was right for the students. Now it seems, der Vorstand tells the citizens what is proper and what is right:
    Deutschland; Deutschland; uber alles uber alles

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