Illinois’ gubernatorial veto procedures

Matt Paprocki

University of Notre Dame Alumni. Kentucky Colonel.

Matt Paprocki
August 2, 2017

Illinois’ gubernatorial veto procedures

The governor can exercise the veto power in four different ways: a total veto, an amendatory veto, an item veto and a reduction veto.

  1. Total veto (applicable for substantive and appropriations bills)

In a total veto, the governor vetoes the entire bill. The General Assembly has two options:

  • The General Assembly can do nothing, and the bill is considered dead;
  • The General Assembly can override the veto with a vote by a three-fifths majority of the members in each chamber. The bill then becomes law in the form in which the bill was originally sent to the governor.
  1. Amendatory veto (applicable to substantive bills only)

In an amendatory veto, the governor makes specific recommendations for changes to the bill. Included with an amendatory veto is a “veto message’’ indicating that the governor would sign the bill if the recommended changes were made.

The General Assembly has three options:

  • The General Assembly can do nothing, and the bill is considered dead;
  • The General Assembly can override the veto with a vote by a three-fifths majority of the members in each chamber. The bill then becomes law in the form in which the bill was originally sent to the governor;
  • The General Assembly can agree with the recommendations made by the governor by a simple majority vote in each of the chambers. The bill then becomes law, as amended by the governor. However, should the governor issue the amendatory veto after May 31 and the changes have an immediate effective date, the recommendations require a three-fifths majority vote in both chambers in order to pass. If the effective date is the next fiscal year, the changes only require a simple majority to pass.
  1. Item veto (applicable to appropriations bills only)

The governor may veto any item of an appropriations bill. An item veto allows the governor to change a bill if the governor basically approves of it but finds some parts of the legislation unacceptable. The portions of the bill that are not vetoed become law.

The General Assembly has two options:

  • The General Assembly can do nothing. The portions of the bill that were not vetoed become law, and the items the governor vetoed are stripped from the bill and considered dead.
  • The General Assembly can override the item veto with a vote by a three-fifths majority of the members in each chamber. The bill then becomes law in the form in which the bill was originally sent to the governor.
  1. Reduction veto (applicable to appropriations bills only)

A reduction veto allows the governor to reduce any amount of an item in an appropriations bill. A reduction item veto allows the governor the option of changing a bill if the governor basically approves of it but finds some parts unacceptable. The portions of the bill that were not reduced become law.

The General Assembly has two options:

  • The General Assembly can do nothing. The portions of the bill that were not reduced become law, and the items the governor reduced become law in the reduced amounts.
  • The General Assembly can override the reduction with a vote by a simple majority of the members in each chamber. The bill then becomes law in the form in which the bill was originally sent to the governor.

Overriding a gubernatorial veto

If the General Assembly disagrees with a governor’s total veto, amendatory veto or item veto, the General Assembly can override the veto by a vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each of the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate.

Restoration of an amount reduced by the governor or acceptance of the governor’s amendatory recommendations requires only a simple majority of the members elected to each chamber.

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