In the past, there have been issues of who is in control of state government when the Governor is out of state and the Lieutenant Governor serves in the role. That usually occurs, though, when the two are from different political parties. Even though Governor Bob Holden and Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell are both Democrats, the two have reached a formal agreement as to what Maxwell can do in Holden’s absence from the state. The agreement came to light when Maxwell sat in for Holden during a bill signing ceremony in the Governor’s Capitol Office. Maxwell signed a few bills while Holden attended the Bio2003 Conference in Washington, D. C. The letter written from Holden to Maxwell on the stationery containing the governor’s letterhead covered slightly more than two single-spaced pages. Under the terms of the letter, Maxwell was not allowed to make appointments, pardon any prisoners or activate the National Guard unless there was an actual emergency and the Governor was unreachable. Maxwell’s bill signing power was limited to six bills, four on veterans’ issues and two on meth production, eliminating any temptation to sign the budget bills. That wasn’t much of a temptation. Maxwell says he agrees with the governor’s stance and would have vetoed the bills as well.
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