CARSON CITY — As the Legislature was rushing to adjourn at 1 a.m. Tuesday, Gov. Brian Sandoval was doing what he has done with increasing regularity during the legislative session: vetoing bills.
Sandoval vetoed Assembly Bill 501, which would have required an audit on the costs of the death penalty, and Assembly Bill 309, which would have created an office for a consumer advocate to represent the public on health insurance matters before the state Insurance Commission.
With the two vetoes, Sandoval now has vetoed 10 bills approved by the Legislature. That is more than most governors in the past 30 years but a far cry from the record 48 vetoed by Gov. Jim Gibbons during and after the 2009 Legislature.
Sandoval has received hundreds of bills approved by legislators during the final days of the session. He has 10 days to approve or veto the bills.
The consumer advocate bill, sponsored by Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, was called “laudable” by Sandoval, but he also said it would do more harm than good.
“For example, the state today has an existing rate review process,” said the governor in his veto message. “Moreover, the creation of the office of consumer advocate within the division will increase costs, likely multiplying the number of hearings and the attendant costs to consumers.”
In vetoing the death penalty audit, Sandoval said he was not convinced it would be a fair audit.
“The bill, for example, lists the costs to be assessed in determining the overall fiscal impact of the imposition of the death penalty, but it does not specify how it is these costs will be assessed,” the governor said.
Sandoval, a former state attorney general and federal judge, said that death row inmates make “individualized litigation choices” that drive up the costs of their cases.
Nearly 80 prisoners are on Nevada’s death row in the Ely State Prison.
Almost all Republican legislators voted against the two bills.