Governor Says He Will Sign Some Bills Without a Budget

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Governor Schwarzenegger's reneging on his threat to veto any bill that comes across his desk until there's a budget. Now he's telling lawmakers he'll make an exception for some measures that need to go on the November ballot. KPCC's Julie Small reports the deadline for that is drawing near.

Julie Small: In a letter, Governor Schwarzenegger implored the four legislative leaders to pass four big ballot measures for the November election. The governor had threatened to veto all bills until lawmakers pass the budget. But press secretary Aaron McLear says, given the budget impasse, Schwarzenegger is now willing to make exceptions so Californians can vote on those propositions.

Aaron McLear: We are just days away from having a record late budget. And because of that, the governor believes that we need to come out of our comfort zones and do things that we would never think we would do.

Small: Two of the measures would reform the budget. The first would allow the state to borrow against California lottery proceeds to balance deficits. The second would put more money into the state government's "rainy day" fund. The third ballot measure is a bond to combat the drought. It calls for more water storage, conservation, and delivery.

The last one makes important changes to a high-speed rail bond already on the ballot. Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for Senate leader Don Perata, says the governor will get his changes to the high-speed rail bond – the Legislature's already approved that – but the other three measures will have to wait.

Lynda Gledhill: We are working hard to do all of those things, but the governor saying now that he would sign these measures doesn't really change the fact what we really need is the governor to help us get several Republican votes in the Senate for a budget.

Small: Assembly Speaker Karen Bass issued a similar statement. The governor says he'll keep working with both sides to broker a deal by this weekend. If not, Schwarzenegger plans to skip the Republican National Convention next week, and hunker down in budget land.