It’s Veto Day for Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal has only struck down one piece of legislation so far this year (and it was a big one) but on Tuesday he could take the veto pen out again in a major way.

On the top of the watch list Tuesday, the last day of the 40-day signing period, is the “campus carry” legislation legalizing firearms on the grounds of public colleges. The governor’s not saying much about whether he’ll sign it or send it to the trash heap, but you can find our analysis here.

There are a slew of other noteworthy bills awaiting his signature as well. Some are shoo-ins, like his plan to expand the Georgia Supreme Court. Others could end up on the cutting room floor.

He signed a measure that would slash the number of standardized tests given to Georgia students. We're still waiting to hear about a few others, including a proposal that would grant workers' compensation benefits to firefighters who suffer certain cancers, a plan that would let adults carry stun guns on campuses and new rules for the use of drones.

You can find our handy tracking list of the bills he’s signed – and those still pending – right here.

It could turn out to be a busy day for Deal, who rarely brandishes the veto pen. Our AJC colleague Jim Denery ran the numbers, and found that the governor has averaged about eight vetoes each year, along with a scarcer number of line-item vetoes. He’s never rejected more than 11 pieces of legislation.

We’ll soon know whether this year, with all Deal’s tensions with the legislative branch, ups the ante. One thing is for certain: Deal won’t be sitting on his hands.

Late Monday news broke that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam allowed a campus carry measure to become law by not signing the bill. Deal has the same option – to allow the legislation to take effect without signing it by Tuesday – but he scoffed at that notion.

"I don't walk away from bills,” he said. “I either sign them or veto them.”

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.