Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead puts his signature on Senate File 82-Large project funding during a bill signing this morning. In separate action yesterday he vetoed 10 sections of the budget bill for the coming biennium. (WyoFile/Gregory Nickerson — click to enlarge)

Gov. Mead vetoes 10 line items on 2014 budget bill

By Gregory Nickerson
— March 6, 2014

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has used his veto pen to strike out ten line items in the 2015-2016 budget bill. The Senate and House did not take votes to override any of the vetoes.

Mead signed the bill yesterday afternoon. The House and Senate accepted the vetoes and adjourned the 2014 session shortly after 4 p.m. today. During the 19-day session lawmakers passed a $3.5 billion General Fund budget, along with more than 100 general issue bills out of more than 300 considered for introduction.

Gov. Mead’s vetoes don’t represent major policy changes. For the most part, the vetoes pertain to cleaning up language, providing more flexibility, and striking out language that attempts to legislate within budget footnotes, according to Mead’s spokesman Renny MacKay.

The Attorney General issued a letter in 2013 cautioning the Legislature against inserting too much language into budget footnotes about matters that would be better handled in a general issue bill.

Gov. Mead’s vetoes are as follows:

  • Page 30 — State lands and Investments: Struck out requirement about land purchases over $2 million made by the State Land and Investment Board would require legislative approval.
  • Page 56 — Department of Education: Keeps $125,000 for a position, while allowing funds for a tribal triad initiative.
  • Page 69 — Administration and Information: Took language out specifying the terms of purchase for a $3.5 million building for the Game and Fish Forensics Lab in Laramie, leaving the budget for the purchase subject to approval by the Governor.
  • Page 72 — Strategic Projects and Investments Account (SIPA): Struck language that would have transferred funds remaining in the SIPA after September 1, 2014 to the State Facilities Construction Account. This provides the Governor with flexibility on how to spend the SIPA money in the second half of the biennium.
  •  A second veto on page 72 eliminates a transfer of $1.37 million from SIPA to the General Fund that was not needed to balance the budget.
  • Page 78 — Carryover Appropriations: Allows leftover money for fire suppression expenses to be spent on fire costs incurred from any year, rather than 2012 only.
  • Page 100 — Limitation on Salary Increases: Struck language preventing agencies from granting raises to individual employees without legislative approval; allows executive branch to handle such cases.
  • Page 104 — Department of Health Facilities Task Force: Removed assignment of Legislative Service Office staff to a task force reviewing building projects for the State Hospital, Life Resource Center, and Veterans Home. Department of Health will provide staff.
  • Page 112 — Wyoming Value-Added and Industrial Plan: Allows non-legislative members of task force to vote; allows Governor to appoint chairman of task force.
  • Page 119 — Appropriation to the General Fund: Struck language transferring $3 million from the capital construction account to the General Fund.

Mead vetoed only three items in last year’s supplemental budget. The most important of those allowed him flexibility to spend more money fighting forest fires.

The engrossed budget bill from the 2014 session, which doesn’t include the vetoes, can be found here.

To read about Mead’s vetoes from the 2013 session, click here.

Gov. Mead’s budget letter

— Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. He writes the Capitol Beat blog. Contact him at greg@wyofile.com.

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Gregory Nickerson

Gregory Nickerson worked as government and policy reporter for WyoFile from 2012-2015. He studied history at the University of Wyoming. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregNickersonWY and on www.facebook.com/GregoryNickersonWriter/

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