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Oklahoma Governor vetoes bill to change titles of initiatives

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April 28, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry vetoed a bill that came to his desk that would have altered how ballot initiatives are titled in the State of Oklahoma[1].

Oklahoma Senate Bill 2008, would have moved the responsibility of writing titles of ballot initiatives to the Oklahoma Legislature. The Oklahoma Attorney General currently has the responsibility of writing all titles for initiatives that qualify for the ballot[1].

The bill had broad support in the legislature with the Oklahoma House passing the bill 85-11 and the Senate 38-7. In the veto message to the legislature from Governor Henry, the Governor said: "by essentially transferring this authority to the legislative leadership, Senate Bill 2008 removes the independent arbiter from this process." The Governor also stated: "voters rely on the ballot title to make their decisions and there should be no hint or appearance of bias in its construction."[1]

The Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Chris Benge, who authored the House version of the bill told reporters that he was disappointed with the Governor's veto. Speaker Benge did not give a comment to reporters as to whether he would try to get the Legislature to override the veto. Under Oklahoma law, a 2/3rds vote in each house is required to override a Governor's veto[1].

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