Some may ask why California Gov. Pete Wilson waited until the last minute Sept. 30 to veto two key leasing bills, a master leasing measure and the Richmond Unified School District bailout legislation.

Aides explain that the governor was deluged with an unprecedented 1,100 bills from the state Legislature when it adjourned in early September, all of which had to be either signed or vetoed by Oct. 1.

Despite this, press aides said, the governor vowed to take personal action on each one rather than let some become law through inaction, which would have occurred automatically after 30 days.

That decision set in motion a nearly nonstop marathon of gubernatorial briefings, chief executive vetoes, and bill signings. At mid-month on Sept. 18, the governor still had 900 bills left to go, and by Sept. 29, he had whittled down the number of outstanding bills to 600, the aides said.

But by the night of Sept. 30, they said, the governor still had 400 bills to act on if he was to keep his pledge -- including the two leasing bills.

Wilson vetoed the master leasing bill as part of a batch he acted on between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. And he took until the very last minute to act on the Richmond bill, which he vetoed just before the midnight deadline, according to his aides.

If the governor's writing hand had given out, or if he had been delayed by only a couple of hours, both bills would have become law.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.