Capitol Alert

Bill signing rush not always smooth

Gov. Jerry Brown, left, signs bills with his staff in 2012.
Gov. Jerry Brown, left, signs bills with his staff in 2012. AP

Lawmakers get to skip town after finishing their work for the legislative year. But for governors and their aides, the work is just beginning, as they rush to review hundreds of bills in the four weeks before a constitutional deadline.

Mix-ups occasionally happen.

Staff members working for Assemblyman Jose Medina were happy to hear Thursday that Gov. Jerry Brown had signed Assembly Bill 573, a measure offering financial relief to former students of Corinthian College, Inc.-owned colleges. They were less happy about an hour later when they learned the bill had actually been vetoed. The governor’s office had to issue a corrected press release to clarify that it had not been signed.

“While the bill’s provisions to extend Cal Grant eligibility for Heald students are well-intentioned, I am not comfortable creating new General Fund costs outside of the budget process, particularly given the Cal Grant augmentations already included in this year’s budget,” Brown wrote in a signing-turned-veto message. “For these reasons, I am returning this bill without my signature.”

Medina, D-Riverside, declined to comment. A Medina spokeswoman said the office, fortunately, had not made any public announcement that AB 573 had been signed before learning that it had been vetoed.

Governor’s spokesman Evan Westrup likened the mix-up to “a typo in a newspaper.”

“When it was discovered, a correction was immediately issued,” he said in an e-mail.

The glitch pales in comparison to what happened in the office of then-Gov. Pete Wilson as the administration considered bills following the 1994 session. Nine measures that Wilson meant to veto became law without his signatures after an aide misplaced a file.

“I take responsibility for the mistakes or oversights of my staff,” Wilson said in a prepared statement then. “This is a very regrettable human error and we have taken precautions to ensure it will not happen again.”