Gov. Brad Henry has vetoed bills dealing with vehicle liability insurance and what political viewpoints can be expressed at teacher meetings.

Henry has now vetoed 18 bills for the year, five more than his previous veto record in any one year. He is in his seventh year in office.


Gov. Brad Henry has vetoed bills dealing with vehicle liability insurance and what political viewpoints can be expressed at teacher meetings.
Henry has now vetoed 18 bills for the year, five more than his previous veto record in any one year. He is in his seventh year in office.
One bill he struck down Tuesday night would have restricted the ability of people to collect damages in traffic accidents if they had no liability insurance on their vehicles.
In his veto message, Henry said it was “critical to encourage motorists to carry liability insurance and penalize them when they do not.
However, House Bill 1021 goes too far in its penalties, taking away the basic legal rights of an individual or family who is severely injured in an accident that is not their fault.”
Under the legislation, the governor said, “such innocent victims would be denied appropriate compensation for damages simply because they did not have liability insurance at the time the wrongful action occurred.”
He said while the bill did contain some exemptions designed to protect innocent parties, “they are not inclusive enough to cover the universe of potential victims.”
Henry also said the legislation is likely unconstitutional because it “disproportionately affects lower-income citizens.”
In vetoing a bill to ban anyone from talking at teachers meetings about candidates or ballot questions, Henry raised the issue of freedom of speech and said the bill unduly interferes with the ability of local school districts to control the content of local meetings.
“Additionally, the bill is vague and ambiguous, potentially resulting in numerous unintended consequences and making dissemination of information by certain officials or organizations a violation of the law in one school district but not in another, depending on the interpretation and discretion of unspecified local officials,” he said.
Henry, who cannot run for re-election in 2010 because of term limits, has yet to act on scores of bills sent to his office by the first Oklahoma Legislature in which both the House and Senate were controlled by Republicans.
The Senate wrapped up its work Tuesday after the House finished the previous Friday. Official adjournment was at 10 a.m. Wednesday under a legislative resolution.
The Democratic governor has 15 days after adjournment to sign or veto legislation. If he does not sign a bill during that time, it is subject to a so-called “pocket veto.”