Legal Opinion: Schwarzenegger’s Vetoes of Health Funds Are Illegal
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) might have acted illegally when he used line-item vetoes to cut funding from state health care services and other programs, according to a legal opinion obtained by Assembly member John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles), Capitol Weekly reports (Capitol Weekly, 7/30).
When the governor signed a budget revision package Tuesday, he used line-item vetoes to eliminate $489 million in funding for state programs, including more than $150 million in cuts to health care programs.
The line-item vetoes came on top of about $1.6 billion in cuts to health care programs that the Legislature approved (California Healthline, 7/30).
Legislators Gear Up for Legal Challenge
Schwarzenegger claims he had the right to exercise line-item vetoes to cut additional funding from the budget revision package.
However, Democratic lawmakers contend that the governor's cuts to Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, In-Home Supportive Services and other programs are against the law. They note that certain other cuts might be legal.
This week, PÃ©rez sent an e-mail urging other Assembly members to inform their constituents that Schwarzenegger acted illegally with the line-item vetoes.
PÃ©rez also sent a copy of the legal opinion, which states that the vetoes "appear to have exceeded the governor's authority under Article IV, Section 10 of the California Constitution."
In the opinion, PÃ©rez's attorney Stephen Kaufman argues that the line-item vetoes were an "unconstitutional legislative act" because the governor used the vetoes to amend prior enacted legislation (Capitol Weekly, 7/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.