One of new Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's very first official acts was vetoing a bill that outgoing Governor Bob Taft had intended to let become a law. The legislation, Senate Bill 117, would have amended the state's consumer protection laws to cap noneconomic damages in predatory lending suits and limit the ability of Ohio municipalities to sue paint manufacturers aleging that lead paint used decades ago constitutes a "public nuisance" for which the manufacturers are responsible.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there is a dispute over whether Governor Strickland's veto was constitutional. Once the legislature passes a bill, it will become law if neither signed nor vetoed by the Governor within ten days. At issue is whether the to count Sundays when the legislature is out of session. Bill supporters say "yes"; Governor Strickland and incoming state Attorney General Marc Dann say "no." The relevant Constitutional provision provides:
If a bill is not returned by the governor within ten days, Sundays excepted, after being presented to him, it becomes law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the general assembly by adjournment prevents its return; in which case, it becomes law unless, within ten days after such adjournment, it is filed by him, with his objections in writing, in the office of the secretary of state.Because the legislature adjourned after passing the bill, supporters maintain, Sundays should be included in the ten days, and the clock ran out on January 5. Strickland's office, however, claims he had until Monday, January 8, which is when he vetoed the bill. At present, it looks like this one will end up in court.