State Legislative vetoes

The Arkansas legislature over rode the Governor’s veto of an anti abortion bill that is obviously not constitutional.
My beloved state will have to pay the legal fees of the ACLU with my tax money when the case reaches court and the state loses.

The over ride was done with a simple majority.

Why give the Governor the ability to veto a bill if it can be over ridden with a simple majority?
Can other state legislatures over ride a veto so easily?

According to the Council of State Government’s* Book of The States* (Back Issues Here), five other states allow veto override by absolute simple majority (majority of the total elected membership, not just of those present and voting) or by at least the same margin over that as original passage: AL, IN, KY, PA and WV. A good number of other states require a relative supermajority (2/3, 3/5, etc.) but just of those present and voting, as opposed to the federal Congress’ pattern of an absolute supermajority.

This is not unlike the delaying veto that many parliamentary second chambers have: the veto is there to delay and invite reconsideration rather than make it harder for the legislature to enact legislation.

I’m actually okay in principle with a weaker veto. At the Federal level the Constitution as written is strongly tilted to the legislature being the most powerful branch of government. However, because the legislature is made up of hundreds of individuals with different agendas, and two separate houses I think the Presidency has become ascendant. (I’m a Republican, and I’ve thought this since the 70s, through both Democrat and Republican Presidents–it has nothing to do with President Obama.)

Given the original scope of the Presidency I think the veto was a balanced thing, especially since the first ten Presidents or so exclusively used a veto when, in their opinion, a bill was unconstitutional. Washington’s first veto included a note back to Congress basically saying he considered the law unconstitutional.

The US Constitution is ambiguous on whether veto overrides require 2/3 of those present and voting, or of the total membership. It says that an override requires “two thirds of (each) House”.

Congress has always construed this to mean 2/3 of those present and voting, and the Supreme Court agreed in the 1919 case of Missouri Pacific Railway v. Kansas.

You are perhaps confused with the cloture requirement, wherein Senate rules (not the Constitution) require 3/5 of the Senators “duly chosen and sworn” to invoke cloture.

Thank you for clearing that up! Indeed must have transposed the requirements in my mind.

So that makes so the 30-some states that explicitly require absolute supermajority (of all elected, sworn members) are the ones that decided to go different – which makes sense when you think that these are smaller bodies where it would not be difficult to corral enough members for a quorum.