Republicans fail in rare attempt to override governor's veto
Republican state lawmakers failed Thursday to engineer the first override of a gubernatorial veto in three decades, while some Democrats who opposed the action said they remain open to using the power in the future.
The state Senate's 13-22 party-line vote fell far short of the two-thirds tally necessary to override Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of a measure that would make it easier for cities and counties to temporarily take over the operation of state parks targeted for closure because of the California's budget shortfall.
Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) said he called for an override because he does not think Brown is willing to work with lawmakers on a compromise to keep parks open. He accused the governor of "circumventing" the Legislature and going to voters with a proposed tax increase.
"This is an opportunity for us to potentially keep some state parks open that would otherwise close," Blakeslee told his colleagues about SB 356.
Brown vetoed the measure in October, saying it was unnecessary because state officials are already talking to local governments about operating some parks.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted the last veto successful override occurred during Brown's first stint as governor. He referred to 1979 overrides on two measures, dealing with state employees and insurance.
"This has not happened in over a generation," he said, noting that he opposed Blakeslee's effort but that if the Legislature never uses its override authority "we lose some of our power.''
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said an override should only be considered on an issue of "great importance" and only when he and the Republican Senate leader agree that it is necessary.
"This isn't the bill," Steinberg said. "This isn't the time."
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown redelivers his State of the State address to an audience in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times