MT: Governor vetoes bill that would prohibit executive from modifying judiciary’s budget requests to the legislature; 29 states have similar protections

Montana’s governor has vetoed a bill that would prohibit the executive branch from tampering with the judiciary’s budget request to the legislature prior to submission. As originally discussed here current law already provides “Legislative branch budget proposals must be included in the budget submitted by the governor without changes.” SB 235, as vetoed, would extend the same protections to judicial branch proposals.

In his veto message Governor Steve Bullock warned that

If implemented, SB 235 could force the executive branch to forego its budget priorities in order to fully fund a budget request of the judiciary that has no boundaries or limitations.

According to the latest data from my National Center for State Courts’ colleagues who run the State Court Organization project 29 states either prevent the executive amending the judiciary’s budget request to the legislature or limit the request to comments on the proposal only. (See table below fold)

It is not clear the legislature has the 2/3rds needed to override the veto. While the House passed the bill 70-28 (67 votes needed to override) the Senate passed it by only 28-22 (34 votes needed to override).

What is the executive branch role in the budget request?

  • Can amend (21): Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin
  • Can comment, but not amend (21): Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington
  • No comments permitted (8): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Oregon, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wyoming

Source: Table 3a S. Strickland, R. Schauffler, R. LaFountain & K. Holt, eds. State Court Organization. Last updated 9 January 2015. National Center for State Courts.