HELENA – Unlike former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Gov. Steve Bullock didn’t have a ceremony in front of the Capitol to symbolically veto bills with specially made branding irons.
Bullock didn’t need a ceremony.
Using his pen instead of a branding iron, Bullock showed Monday he is no slouch in vetoing bills. On Monday he rejected a number of bills dealing with taxes, guns, bison and other subjects.
Most of the bills vetoed by the Democratic governor were those sponsored by Republicans, but Bullock also rejected bills by a couple of Democrats.
Through Monday, Bullock had vetoed 71 bills outright. That’s second only to Schweitzer’s 78 in 2011, which was the highest total for a Montana governor since at least 1973-74.
The latest totals from his office show Bullock also has signed 387 bills into law. He let 19 bills become law without his signature, with 10 more coming Tuesday. He signed three line-item vetoes.
Some of the bills vetoed by Bullock on Monday included:
• Senate Bill 394 by Sen. Art Wittich, R-Bozeman, which would have provided a one-time, 5 percent, $47 million reduction in individual income taxes.
• SB282 by Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, which would have simplified Montana’s individual income taxes and lower the rates and lower corporate income tax rates, mostly by eliminating a number of tax credits, exemptions and deductions.
• SB81 by Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, which would have provided tax credits to donors to to scholarship organizations for private schools.
• House Bill 240 by Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings, which would have allowed students to have guns on college campuses.
• HB205 by Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, which would have allowed hunters to use sound-suppression devices on firearms.
• SB305 by Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, which would have revised the definition of wild bison to limit their movement.
• SB256 by Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, which would have held the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks liable for any private property damage caused by wild bison.
• HB265 by Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, which would have revised campaign finance laws.
• HB297 by Rep. David Howard, R-Park City, which would have made it illegal for employers to hire people who entered the country illegally.
• HB118 by Rep. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, which would have required the state Board of Oil and Gas Conservation to administer a grant program for oil and gas impacts.
• HB100 by Rep. Ron Ehli, R-Hamilton, which would have created a Medicaid pay-for-performance pilot project.
• HB408 by Rep. Mike Miller, R-Helmville, which would have reduced the property tax rate for certain existing mandatory air and water pollution control equipment.
• SB240 by Tutvedt, which would have exempted certain new air and water pollution control equipment, or that placed into service after Jan. 1, 2012, from property taxes.
• SB401 by Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte, which would have decreased the allocation of proceeds from the metalliferous mines license tax targeted for the general fund and redirected that money to hard-rock mining companies.
• HB188 by Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, which would have prohibited the Public Service Commission from approving rate schedules for certain small power producers and setting guidelines between small power production facilities and utilities.
• HB535 by Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, which would have revised laws relating to cabin and home sites on state lands by clarifying that owners of these improvements maintain their ownership until the lots are re-leased or sold or the improvements are sold.
• HB633 by Ehli, which would have created another select committee on efficiency in government as the 2011 Legislature did.