In the latest round of Capitol brinksmanship, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill honoring Vietnam veterans and threatened to kill 72 other proposals on his desk because he said lawmakers have ignored his priority issues.
The Senate withdrew all of its 43 bills from the Republican governor's desk for temporary safekeeping. But in an act of defiance, the Assembly left on his desk a bill that would designate March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."
"I dare the governor to veto this bill," said Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, before the close of Tuesday's session.
Shortly afterward, Schwarzenegger accepted the dare and vetoed Assembly Bill 264.
"Our state is facing significant challenges, including the need for comprehensive changes in our policies on water, energy, and corrections and the need to take meaningful steps to stimulate the economy and rein in the rising levels of unemployment," Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message. "This bill does nothing to address any of these issues. I look forward to considering this measure when these other major issues are addressed."
Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, a Vietnam veteran who co-authored AB 264 and wears a Marine Corps pin on his lapel, said he was "dismayed and angry."
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