What’s a Veto?
by Ashley Crary Lidow on Nov 13, 2017
On June 12 the Governor reviewed the state budget and vetoed items that he disapproved of. Vetoing is a power that is given to a governor or president to reject a policy from the legislature.
In the statement on why he was issuing those vetoes, he stated that South Carolina is on the edge of unprecedented prosperity and I fully agree. SC is on the edge and needs to understand that the way to reaching our goal is by removing barriers from women and girls to achieve their full potential.
Later in his veto message, Governor McMaster states that the lines he vetoed in the budget are “inconsistent with principles of accountability, transparency, and competitiveness or are simply unfunded mandates, unidentifiable ‘pork’ projects or short-sighted impediments to economic growth.”
This is where the governor and I disagree on what items impede economic growth for our state. One item he decided to veto was contraception coverage for dependents on the state health plan.
Contraception is a key component to allowing women to complete their education or to get and keep a job. If you want to ensure economic growth you will want to entice more people, specifically women to participate in it (see our women in the workforce study). Coverage of this essential healthcare should not be different for any member of the health plan.
Another veto he issued was on line 34 of the budget- funds for medical contracts. Ok, so what is the big deal here? That line item included the funding for what was formally known as the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council now known as the Joseph H Neal Wellness Center which provides critical prevention and treatment services for South Carolinians.
The Joseph H Neal Wellness Center builds on over twenty years of the Council’s work which sought to combat stigma and reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in South Carolina through prevention, education, and advocacy. By engaging community leaders in necessary conversation, and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable—with free and rapid testing services, psychological counseling programs, and access to lifesaving medication—the Neal Wellness Center extends quality healthcare to those at risk and neutralizes the atmosphere of judgment that still pervades public discussions around HIV.
In short, without the work the Neal Wellness Center does, our state will continue to be listed at the top of all the bad lists and bottom of all the good lists.
So what do we do now? We ask the legislature to override these vetos. Overriding a veto is the power held by the legislature to say that the policy measure is important and it needs to go into effect.
Sounds simple right? Well, we need to have 2/3rds of the members of House (83 votes) and 2/3rds of the members of the Senate (31 votes) who are there voting the day of the override.
With so many people needing to vote in favor of the override we need your help in ensuring they know how important the vote is. Call, email, post to Facebook your representative and senator and ask them to please override the veto. Make it into a party and grab a couple of friends to make the calls together or write letters to drop off at the statehouse on January 9th when they get back into session.
Here are some talking points to help you get started:
- A woman’s ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant has a direct and positive impact on her health, her education, and her economic well-being, as well as that of her children.
- Greater control over childbearing reduces rates of unintended pregnancies; contributes to healthier pregnancies; and increases the opportunities that women have to pursue education and advance their careers.
- South Carolina has one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the country, and we should not be supporting a rollback that could worsen this reality.
- I appreciate your time and hope you choose to support family planning and contraceptive access for all women.
In order to be most impactful, please contact both your senator and representative if you are able to do so.
 Veto—The action of a governor in disapproval of a measure; returned, with the measure, to the originating body.
 Veto Override—To pass a bill over governor’s veto requires a two-thirds vote of members present and voting of both bodies acting separately.