House Speaker Gauging Members for Possible Override of Beebe Veto

FEBRUARY 20, 2007 - Posted at 7:14 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe says it's too early to say if he would veto a bill that would make major changes to how state money is provided to local projects.  But House Speaker Benny Petrus says he's already surveying members on whether they would support overriding a veto.

Petrus says he's open to changing a proposal for using a commission to hand out grants to local projects.  The legislation approved Friday by the House would set up a Community Assistance Commission, appointed by Petrus and Senate President Jack Critcher (D-Batesville).  The proposal has been sent to the Senate.

A legal opinion issued by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel after the vote said the proposal is constitutional but would be legally vulnerable if some changes weren't made.

Petrus and Critcher said they're open to the proposed safeguards, such as allowing gubernatorial appointees, longer terms and staggered terms.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)