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Veto


A veto – Latin for "I forbid" – is the power (used by an officer of the state, for example) to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America) can block any resolution. Or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate may override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto gives power only to stop changes, not to adopt them (except for the rare "amendatory veto"). Thus a veto allows its holder to protect the status quo.

The concept of a veto body originated with the Roman consuls and tribunes. Either of the two consuls holding office in a given year could block a military or civil decision by the other; any tribune had the power to unilaterally block legislation passed by the Roman Senate.

The institution of the veto, known to the Romans as the intercessio, was adopted by the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC to enable the tribunes to protect the interests of the plebs (common citizenry) from the encroachments of the patricians, who dominated the Senate. A tribune's veto did not prevent the senate from passing a bill, but meant that it was denied the force of law. The tribunes could also use the veto to prevent a bill from being brought before the plebeian assembly. The consuls also had the power of veto, as decision-making generally required the assent of both consuls. If one disagreed, either could invoke the intercessio to block the action of the other. The veto was an essential component of the Roman conception of power being wielded not only to manage state affairs but to moderate and restrict the power of the state's high officials and institutions.

In Westminster systems and most constitutional monarchies, the power to veto legislation by withholding the Royal Assent is a rarely used reserve power of the monarch. In practice, the Crown follows the convention of exercising its prerogative on the advice of its chief advisor, the prime minister.


Veto power and override authority by state
State Veto Powers Veto Override Standard
Alabama Amendatory, Pocket, Line Item, Package Majority elected
Alaska Reduction, Line Item, Package Regular bills: 2/3 elected; Budget bills: 3/4 elected
Arizona Line Item, Package 2/3 elected (Misc items have 3/4 elected standard)
Arkansas Line Item, Package Majority elected
California Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Colorado Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Connecticut Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Delaware Pocket, Line Item, Package 3/5 elected
Florida Line Item, Package 2/3 present
Georgia Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Hawaii Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Idaho Line Item, Package 2/3 present
Illinois Amendatory, Reduction, Line Item (spending only), Package 3/5 elected for package, majority elected for reduction/line item, majority elected required to affirm amendments
Indiana Package Majority elected
Iowa Pocket, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Kansas Line Item, Package 2/3 membership
Kentucky Line Item, Package Majority elected
Louisiana Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Maine Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Maryland Line Item, Package 3/5ths elected
Massachusetts Amendatory, Pocket, Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected; normal majority required to accept amendments
Michigan Pocket, Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3rds elected
Minnesota Pocket, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected – min. 90 House, 45 Senate
Mississippi Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Missouri Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Montana Amendatory, Line Item, Package 2/3 present
Nebraska Reduction, Line Item, Package 3/5 elected
Nevada Package 2/3 elected
New Hampshire Package 2/3 present
New Jersey Amendatory, Pocket, Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
New Mexico Line Item, Package, Pocket 2/3 present
New York Pocket, Line Item, Package 2/3 votes in each house
North Carolina Package 3/5 elected
North Dakota Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Ohio Line Item, Package 3/5 elected
Oklahoma Pocket, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Oregon Line Item, Package 2/3 present
Pennsylvania Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Rhode Island Line Item, Package 3/5 present
South Carolina Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
South Dakota Amendatory, Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Tennessee Reduction, Line Item, Package Constitutional majority (Majority elected)
Texas Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Utah Line Item, Package 2/3 elected
Vermont Pocket, Package 2/3 present
Virginia Amendatory, Line Item, Package 2/3 present (must include majority of elected members)
Washington Line Item, Package 2/3 present
West Virginia Reduction, Line Item, Package Majority elected
Wisconsin Amendatory, Reduction, Line Item, Package 2/3 present
Wyoming Line Item, Package 2/3 elected

Amendatory veto
Allows a governor to amend bills that have been passed by the legislature. Revisions are subject to confirmation or rejection by the legislature.
Line item veto
Allows a governor to remove specific sections of a bill (usually only spending bills) that has been passed by the legislature. Deletions can be overridden by the legislature.
Pocket veto
Any bill presented to a governor after a session has ended must be signed to become law. A governor can refuse to sign such a bill and it will expire. Such vetoes cannot be overridden.
Reduction veto
Allows a governor to reduce the amounts budgeted for spending items. Reductions can be overridden by the legislature.
Package veto
Allows a governor to veto the entire bill. Package vetoes can be overridden by the legislature.
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Wikipedia

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