Line-Item Veto

The line-item veto is a power enjoyed by Oklahoma’s Governor that allows him or her to veto one or more sections of an appropriations bill.  Line-item vetoes, like regular vetoes, can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Legislature. If overridden, the bill becomes the law as originally passed by the Legislature. If a line-item veto is not overridden, the rest of the bill becomes law.

The line-item veto has been used sparingly by Oklahoma governors in recent years. Gov. Stitt line-item vetoed two bills in 2022: sections of a Department of Corrections bill, SB 1052, that funded increases in private contractor per diems at two facilities, and a section of bill, SB 429, providing $20 million in pandemic relief funding to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The Legislature subsequently overrode the veto to SB 1052. In 2020, Gov. Stitt line-item vetoed a $1.2 million appropriation intended to provide pay raises to employees at private prisons. Prior to that it was used by Gov. Fallin during the 2017 first special session to veto all but five sections of a General Appropriations bill passed by the Legislature.

At the federal level, Congress passed a bill in 1996 that granted the President the power to line-item veto budget bills, but it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Clinton v. City of New York.