Today’s decision to hold off a vote on the override of HB 328 – State Government Work Week – was unprecedented and not in the best interests of the citizens of Utah. Governor Herbert vetoed this bill because switching back to a five-day workweek for state government will cost taxpayers nearly one million dollars per year.
There were enough Senators present today to vote on the possible override of the bill. When it became clear that there were not enough “yes” votes to facilitate the override, the majority Republicans suspended action to allow some missing members to return to the state, which would give them the outcome they are seeking. Because of this, the Utah Senate will now take the highly unusual action of reconvening at 7:30 pm on a Saturday night to vote. The timing of this vote is particularly challenging given the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, and will cost Utah taxpayers additional money.
Overriding the veto on HB 328 is nothing more than some lawmakers attempting to micromanage the Governor’s office. Governor Herbert already signed an executive order mandating that state agencies must provide critical services on Fridays. That should be an effective measure that will allow lawmakers to reconsider this issue during the next legislative session.
Changing to a five-day workweek would be extremely disruptive to many state workers. When Utah switched to a four-day workweek, they had to scramble to find an effective balance between work and home life. Changing back will prove equally disruptive to them as they scramble to adjust schedules and, in many cases, find child care.
The legislative process is designed to ensure a fair result, even if one side does not like the outcome.