At the conclusion of every session most people ponder how the Governor will respond to the most controversial proposals. So what exactly can the Governor do and does the General Assembly have any power after the fact?
Upon passage of a bill the Chamber may elect to immediately present the bill to the Governor or allow it the normal process proceeding through the clerks’ office. If there was a drafting error the bill may be sent to the Committee on Legislative Management with a letter indicating the error and the Committee shall have five days to approve the change. The General Assembly shall have twelve days after the bill’s passage to transmit it to the Secretary of State (CSG 2-29). Each bill must be presented to the Governor no later than 25 days after its final passage of the General Assembly (CGS 2-30).
The State Constitution clearly states the Governor’s authority to approve legislation, noting the Governor has several choices once a bill reaches his/her desk. The Governor may approve the bill by signing it and sending it to the Secretary of the State. The Governor may veto the bill but must transmit the bill and his objections to the Secretary of the State. The Governor can also decide to take no action. However, if it is during the legislative session, after five calendar days (Sundays and legal holidays excluded) the bill is deemed law. If the legislative session has adjourned the Governor shall have fifteen days to act on a proposal before it automatically becomes law.
The constitution also provides the Governor with the ability to make line item vetoes on items that make appropriations of money. The line item is specific to the element of the bill that deals with the appropriations and cannot be used to veto sections of policy. The General Assembly can then follow the procedure to overturn the veto.
After the Governor concludes acting on the legislative proposals, the Secretary of the State will reconvene the General Assembly on the second Monday after the last day the Governor had to act on the proposal, roughly 22 days after the conclusion of session excluding Sunday and Holidays. The General Assembly will have three days after the call to session to act on the bills. Only the bills vetoed may be considered during the special session.
Once session convenes the bill will go back to the Chamber it started in and then must be approved by at least 2/3 of its members, then its transmitted to the other Chamber for a vote. If both Chambers approve the legislation by 2/3 majority it is deemed law, and it is sent to the Secretary of the State.
Fun fact: The Constitution charges the Secretary of the State with the safe keeping and custody of all public records and documents. That is why all the bills must be sent to the Secretary’s office.