The Veto and Resolutions

An area that needs further study is the use of the veto on joint resolutions. Joint resolutions do not require gubernatorial approval, although it appears that at least some have been sent to governors and either signed or vetoed. In some cases the legislature responded as if this was indeed a veto and held roll call votes on whether to override (see House Journal, 1915, pp. 258-260, for example).

Yet Chap. II, Sec. 11 of the Constitution restricts the veto to bills and does not mention resolutions. Indeed, we currently treat resolutions as not requiring gubernatorial action. In some cases, it is possible that a resolution was actually an attempt to enact legislation without going through the bill process, in which case it might be eligible for a veto. For a possible example, see Governor Lee Emerson’s veto of Joint House Resolution 53, which attempted to establish a mechanism for setting highway standards (House Journal 1951, pp. 820-821). Another possible example is Governor Richard Snelling’s veto of Joint Senate Resolution 45 relating to the leasing of state-owned land in Vergennes (House Journal, 1978, p. 685). The legislature quickly responded by enacting a law that addressed the leasing of state-owned land in Vergennes. The Vermont Supreme Court has, at least once, looked at the nature of resolutions versus legislation (see Kellogg v. Page).

This page was last updated: 2015-04-28