(KCPW News) The Utah Senate dealt Governor Gary Herbert a second blow Saturday night, convening in a rare weekend session to override his veto of HB 328, which requires all state agencies to be open for business on Fridays. Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins noted, however, that the bill still gives each agency the flexibility to determine employee work schedules.
“And the reason that is done, of course, is because many of these people are used to working four tens,” Jenkins said, referring to the four-day, ten-hour schedule of most state employees. “And it’s going to be a little rough to change some of their schedules, but in fact, this has been drafted in a way that we think it gives them a fair amount of latitude.”
The law reverses former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s executive order to close most state offices on Fridays, a move intended to save money and energy. Governor Herbert had vetoed the measure, saying it infringed on the authority of the executive branch.
Only one Democrat voted to override the governor’s veto. The other six, including Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero, voted ”no.”
“I don’t see the utility in doing this now,” Romero argued when casting his vote. “I think this certainly could have been taken up in the next general session. I think we’ve put a big burden on our state employees, and I’m not hearing a big demand from the public for this change, so I vote no.”
Herbert responded to the veto override, saying in a statement that the bill will cost taxpayers nearly $800,000, even though lawmakers haven’t approved the funding for it. Saturday’s special session lasted only half an hour, but cost more than $7,000, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. On Friday, the legislature also voted to override the governor’s veto of SB 229, a transportation funding bill.
How do you feel about this topic?
Is there anything else you think we should know? We'd like to hear your thoughts. Send us your feedback using the form below.