Governor Gibbons Signs Final Bills, but Vetoes Two More

CARSON CITY (AP) – Governor Jim Gibbons signed the final bills of the 2007 Legislature into law Friday, but vetoed two measures and will allow several others to become law without his signature.

The vetoed bills, his sixth and seventh vetoes of the session, won't become law, and will be reconsidered by lawmakers early in the 2009 Legislature.

One vetoed bill was AB396, a measure instituting new rules for homeowners' associations, which Gibbons had earlier promised to sign, according to Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas.

In his veto message, Gibbons wrote that the bill raised "the possibility of increased assessments and the possibility of dramatic changes to common areas without an opportunity for homeowners to participate."

He also stated that last-minute amendments had prevented any opportunity for full hearings on the final version of the bill.

The final version of the bill, hammered out in a conference committee, rolled together proposals from several homeowners' association bills. Earlier versions of the bill were passed 19-2 bythe Senate and unanimously by the Assembly.

The bill would have limited the associations' ability to fine homeowners, or ban certain energy-efficiency additions such as solar panels and shutters. It also created new rules for elections to executive boards, and safeguards against financial abuse by managers.

Schneider said those are valuable protections for homeowners who are sometimes the victims of overbearing associations, and had bipartisan support from lawmakers. The veto "left the consumer exposed," and Republican support for the bill could lead to a veto override in 2009, Schneider said.

"The next president of your board may be Hitler," he said. "The consumers are getting abused, that's the long and short of it."

Gibbons also vetoed SB146, which would have allowed small counties to raise property taxes by 4 cents for every $100 of property value to build juvenile detention facilities. That bill "will almost certainly result in increased property taxes in several counties" without allowing voters to have a say, Gibbons
wrote in his veto message.

The bill squeaked through the Senate on an 11-10 vote, but passed the Assembly 39-3.

Gibbons signed five bills, including SB425, which stems from a furor over a Gibbons' legal defense fund set up to deal with various allegations against him. The bill imposes reporting requirements and controls for such funds.

Another key bill signed was AB621, which places new limits on the green-building tax cuts legislators passed in 2005. Gibbons vetoed an earlier proposal to limit the green-building tax cuts.

Several other measures will become law without Gibbons' signature, including AB196, which exempts payments toward the unfunded liabilities from state spending caps.

Gibbons also declined to sign SB154, which allows Washoe County to hold a 2008 vote on whether to increase taxes for new school construction.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.