Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on March 16, 2012
UPDATE: After this post was written, and at 8pm at night on a Friday, Governor Herbert did, in fact, veto HB363.
Salt Lake City – Twitterverse was buzzing last night with the news that the majority of delegates elected in the GOP Caucuses may be pro-Hatch. Now that he knows who he’ll face at convention, will Governor Herbert be more likely to veto HB 363?
Governor Gary Herbert (R) is not known particularly for his political or leadership savvy. In 2011, when the Republican-dominated legislature overrode outcries from elected Democrats and passed HB 477, it was obvious to most the level of outcry the anti-sunshine law would create. Yet the Governor decided not to veto the bill, instead signing it into law and charging taxpayers $30,000 to call a special session of the legislature to change it themselves. There was also his scandals with UDOT, the DABC, and even a million dollars worth of wasted fish parts last year.
With the passage of the Anti-Sex Ed bill HB 363 by Representative Bill Wright (R) on the final night of the legislative session this year, Herbert found himself caught squarely in the middle of a no-win situation. On one hand, the current delegates (who will be responsible for the decision of whether to nominate him out of convention this election year) in the Republican party are far far to the political right of most Utahns, and if he were to veto the bill it might have caused irreparable harm to his chances of winning another term. On the other hand, the vast majority of every day Utahns have made it clear that they wish to see HB 363 vetoed, and if he doesn’t it would cost him heavily in a general election.
Ahh… the quandry of political decisions faced by Utah Republicans these days. Should they do the right thing even though it may hurt their reelection bids, or do the wrong thing and try to gloss it over later?
In this case, Governor Herbert’s tactic were rather transparent. His claims of wishing to “consider both sides” before he made a decision paled when considering that he’s received over 40,000 signatures demanding a veto, as well as an estimated 7000 emails and phone calls on the topic (90% of which demanded a veto). No, all that he was really concerned about was waiting until last night’s Republican Caucus meetings, to see which way the delegates went.
Well, you finally have your answer Governor. The delegates appear to have gone to the pro-Hatch folks. We’ll expect your answer on HB 363 shortly.
On an interesting sidenote: Herbert’s opponent in the race for Governor, Major General (ret) Peter Cooke, stepped up early after the session (before the petition started and before the new delegates were picked) and gave a press interview making it clear that he would veto the law. Do you see that Mr. Herbert? That’s called “leadership.”