by JERI CHADWELL
Just over one week after the end of the 77th legislative session, Nevadans are still waiting for Gov. Brian Sandoval to take action on the controversial universal background check bill.
It’s believed the governor will veto Senate Bill 221; however, it’s been nearly a week since the measure was enrolled and delivered to his office, and Sandoval has yet to announce his final decision. In the meantime, the issue has been gaining national attention.
So how long does a governor have to sign or veto a piece of legislation? This actually varies from state to state.
In Nevada —as in most other states— the amount of time a governor has to sign or veto legislation depends on whether or not the legislature is in session. During session, Nevada’s governor has five days —not including Sundays— to make his/her decision. If the legislature has adjourned, the governor has 10 days. In both cases, legislation that is not signed or vetoed within the allotted time becomes law without the governor’s signature.
Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming all give their governors the least amount of time to make a decision. All five require that a governor either sign or veto measures within three days during session. By contrast, Illinois allows its governor up to 60 days to take action.
The prescribed time frame for action after session adjournment also varies widely from state to state, including 12 states where the governor can veto legislation simply by taking no action on it. This is commonly known as a “pocket veto”. Nevada’s governors have never had the power to pocket veto legislation.
Since the Legislature had adjourned sine die by the time SB221 was delivered to Sandoval on June 6, the measure must either be signed or vetoed by June 18.