Schwarzenegger Vetoes National Presidential Vote Bill
SACRAMENTO, September 30, 2006 -- California's electoral votes for president should not be awarded based on the national popular vote, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Saturday as he vetoed a bill that would have changed the way the state's electoral votes are awarded.
Rushing to beat a midnight bill-signing deadline, the Republican governor signed 110 bills including a bill to require labeling of Sonoma wine and another that boosts Internet security.
He vetoed 73 bills, including a mandate for alternate fuels.
Schwarzenegger said a national popular vote bill by Assemblyman Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, disregards the will of a majority of Californians. The bill would have changed the way California's 55 electoral votes are awarded during presidential elections, giving them to the winner of the national popular vote rather than the candidate who captured the state.
"This is counter to the tradition of our great nation which honors states rights and the unique pride and identity of each state," Schwarzenegger said.
Supporters argued that presidential candidates don't compete for California's votes, coming to the state only to raise campaign cash and spending most of their time in battleground states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
"I think that the governor is misguided," Umberg said. "The only way to make California relevant is to have it re-engage in the presidential election and not have it be thought of as an afterthought."
Umberg said supporters would seek to get the measure, which would have added California to a multistate agreement that is part of a national campaign started in February, on the ballot if necessary. The Los Altos-based nonprofit National Popular Vote is seeking to change the way the country picks the president.
Schwarzenegger also vetoed legislation that would have required half the cars sold in the state to run on cleaner alternative fuels such as natural gas, fuel cells or biofuels by 2020.
The Republican governor, who earlier this week signed sweeping legislation that would cap the state's greenhouse gas emissions, called the bill's mandate "counterproductive."
"I strongly support the goal to increase California's use of alternative transportation fuels, however this bill is counterproductive to several major initiatives already underway and will cost California more than $1.2 billion in transportation funding," Schwarzenegger said.
The bill by Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, would have required the Air Resources Board to adopt alternative fuel regulations in an effort to reduce California's dependence on oil.
The Department of Finance estimated the measure would have cost the state at least $1.2 billion per year in transportation funds through lost gasoline taxes.
Schwarzenegger signed more than 100 bills, including:
- AB 2415 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, requires wireless home networking equipment manufacturers to begin providing consumers information to help protect their personal information. Most computer users do not know they can secure their wireless networks, which can be tapped by neighbors looking for a free Internet connection.
- AB 1953 by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, D-Alameda, reduced the amount of lead allowed in pipes or plumbing parts that carry drinking water. Schwarzenegger said the measure will help ensure Californians get safe drinking water. The law reduces the amount of lead from 8 percent to 0.25 percent.
- SB 1380 by state Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, prohibiting the sale of wine that advertises a Sonoma County label unless at least 75 percent of the grapes used to make the wine are from the county. Schwarzenegger said the bill would ensure wine drinkers aren't mislead by labeling, saying Sonoma is "a premier appellation known around the world and consumers expect that the wine they purchase with that storied name on the label actually comes from Sonoma."
In other action, he vetoed 73 bills, including:
- SB 1818 by Sen. Richard Alarcon, D- Van Nuys, would have required "big box" retailers to pay communities' legal fees if local governments prevail in lawsuits that challenge zoning ordinances or regulations aimed at restricting the stores. In a veto message, Schwarzenegger said the bill would discourage large retailers from opening stores in California. He also said it was not necessary to protect local governments from baseless or frivolous lawsuits.
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