Judge Upholds Contested Bullock Veto

May 31, 2019

A Montana judge has blocked Secretary of State Corey Stapleton from enrolling into state law a bison bill that Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed last month.

District Judge James Reynolds' temporary restraining order was issued Friday afternoon, two days after Stapleton declared the bill had become law because the Democratic governor missed a deadline to turn the veto in to the Republican secretary's office.

Bullock said he followed the law and Constitution in issuing the veto on the bill to change the definition of wild bison, and he filed a lawsuit today to stop Stapleton.

Raph Graybill is the governor's chief legal counsel.

"When a governor vetoes a bill within 10 days of receiving it, the bill does not become law. And that’s the end of the story," Graybill says.

Reynolds wrote in his order that if what the governor says is true, Stapleton's action would be a constitutional violation and result in a vetoed law taking immediate effect.

Stapleton’s Office did not immediately return a call for comment.

Stapleton is campaigning to be Montana’s next governor, Bullock is term-limited and running for president.