The first veto in this example was used on a well-meaning bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Hubbard, D-Montgomery, that would provide state financial incentives to Alabama restaurants to entice them to buy Alabama farm and seafood products.
The governor questioned the constitutionality of the bill and would not sign it.
Hubbard says he will work with agricultural interests and present a better bill next session. He also should carefully consider the governor’s objections since he apparently did not consult the governor’s office when the bill was being written — or if he did, he did do it well enough.
Note to legislators: Remember there is another branch of government you must work with.
The other veto was of a bill sponsored by Rep. Randy Wood, R-Saks, that would require the state to cover more of counties’ election expenses. According to the governor’s office, that would cost the state $1.8 million per election. With the budget as it is, the state could not support that bill without taking money from other departments.
Of course, if counties had more power over local taxation they would be able to cover this cost themselves — but the 1901 Constitution makes it difficult, if not impossible, for counties to raise revenue the way counties in other states raise it.
Alabama’s Constitution was designed to keep the power of the purse in the hands of the state, which has made counties beholden to the Legislature for so much of what it can do. When the state can’t — or won’t — help the counties, local governments must use their limited abilities and limited resources to get by.
With the governor’s veto of this bill, the state is telling the counties, “Sorry, you are on your own.”