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  • Veto

    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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