Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Given Legislature Stronger Subpoena Power
On final day to approve bills passed by the Utah Legislature, Governor Gary Herbert vetoed HB414, which would have given the legislature the final say on challenges to legislative subpoenas.
Governor Herbert says he vetoed the bill because he thought that it eliminated a person’s right to due process. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Dunnigan says the bill was necessary to fix and clarify some of the issues discovered during the House’s investigation of former Attorney General John Swallow. He says almost every subpoena they issued was challenged and they were often told they would have to wait as many as three months before a judge could hear the case.
“You know, we can’t wait three months to proceed with subpoenas," Dunnigan says. "In that time additional information can be lost or misplaced. When time is of the essence in the investigative situation like we were in involved in we need compliance with subpoenas.”
Governor Herbert says he understands the desire to shortcut the system, especially for an investigation, but that it works the way it does for a reason.
“Well sometimes democracy and due process is messy and sometimes a little more expensive," Herbert says. "But it’s, we don’t want to violate somebody’s civil rights, even though we’re well intended here to want to get to the bottom of an issue.”
Dunnigan says he isn’t sure if the bill will be brought up in a special veto override session. Herbert signed all 10 other bills related to the Swallow Investigative Committee into law.