Before we were even listed on the Calendar, supporters were asking whether the Governor was going to sign the Gourmet Beer Bill, veto it, or take some other action. I would prefer we not distract ourselves with this right now. There are more immediate things to worry about.
However, in the interest of deflecting further questions about it, I wanted to write a post to pass on information about what will happen when the bill goes to the Governor. I’m leaving out a few finer details if they don’t seem particularly relevant.
Once the legislature signs off on it, he has several options:
What if he signs it?
It becomes law, and we all celebrate. This has no qualifications – it’s just good.
What if he doesn’t sign it?
If he doesn’t sign or veto the bill, it becomes law without his signature.
Unless… Okay, to simplify the whole “pocket veto” thing, let me just make a broad statement that any bills that pass on the last day of the session are handled differently. If a bill is passed on the last day of the session, and the Governor doesn’t sign or veto it, then it doesn’t become law. If the Governor does a pocket veto, there’s nothing that can be done.
What if he vetoes it?
Governor Riley can veto the bill, sure. So what?
In Alabama, a simple majority can override the Governor’s veto. Yes, it’s weird. Most of you know that HB373 required and has already received passage of a BIR in both chambers. We had to pass the BIR before we could pass the bill, and a BIR requires a 3/5 supermajority. So it’s actually harder to pass a bill than it is to override a veto in Alabama.
But surely the gubernatorial magnanimity of a veto ensures the Governor’s veto is rarely overriden? No, not really. The legislature has no problem overriding the Governor’s veto. It happens often. It seems like every time they bring up a veto override on a bill, it passes. I can’t find a contrary example.
So what will the Governor do?
I honestly don’t know, and I’m honestly not worried about it at this point in our bill’s progress. If he signs it, it passes. If he doesn’t sign it, it probably passes. If he vetoes it, it probably passes.