The Battle Over the IFC

Today the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 3 from the special session.  SB 3 addressed employee furloughs and related subjects.  One section of the bill required exemptions to the furlough program to be approved by the Interim Finance Committee (IFC).  The veto message specifically cited to that section as part of the rationale for the veto, noting that the Legislature was giving “itself authority to administer and execute the law in violation of the separation of powers provision in the Nevada Constitution.”

This is not the first constitutional clash between the executive and legislative branches over the authority of the IFC.  In the summer of 2009, the Governor and the IFC had a very public disagreementover who had the authority to administer stimulus funds.  The Governor threatened to file suit over the constitutionality of the IFC itself on the grounds that it violated the separation of powers clause by exercising legislative authority outside the bounds of a legislative session.  At the end, the IFC backed down and agreed to the proposals set forth by the executive branch, avoiding a legal battle.

Legislators probably should have expected that any legislative attempts to bestow further authority on the IFC would be met with hostility from the administration.  With no chance to override the veto until the next legislative session, legislators will have to wait a while before deciding whether to push the bounds of their authority.

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