Iowa Pols Sue Gov. Vilsack for Veto of WC & Tort Reforms

August 7, 2003

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack’s line item veto of legislation that supporters say would have improved the state’s business climate is being challenged in court.

Republican legislators filed a lawsuit late last week that challenges the governor’s constitutional ability to line item veto non-appropriation legislation. Gov. Vilsack signed portions of House File 683 that creates the Iowa Values Fund and House File 692 that deals with tax and regulatory policy. However, he line-item vetoed portions of both bills.

In response to the veto of the tax cuts, workers’ compensation and tort reform provisions in HF 692, which is considered by many to be a policy bill, legislative leaders filed suit. While it is clear that the governor can line item veto appropriation bills such as HF 683, there is a question whether HF 692 was strictly a policy bill. The governor contends that the tax cut provisions makes it an appropriations bill.

This constitutional challenge of the governor’s power to line item veto legislation is expected to take months as well as many thousands of dollars to resolve. If the court rules that Gov. Vilsack exceeded his authority, the regulatory reform measures will become law.

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