State v. Mounts

In State v. Mounts, 36 W.Va. 179, 185-86, 14 S.E. 407, 409 (1891), the Court observed that: The constitution of the United States creates in the president a function somewhat legislative in its character, in analogy to the constitution of England, under which the king was recognized, according to the elementary writers, as a constituent branch of the parliament itself. 1 Bl. Comm. 184n. Under the constitution of this state, however, the three departments--legislative, executive, and judicial--are required to be "separate and distinct, so that neither shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others." See article 5, 1. The governor has no legislative functions to perform. His approval of the law passed by the legislature does, it is true, give it vitality as a law; but, should he decline to approve, a bare majority in each of the two houses may pass the law over his veto, thus showing that it was not intended that he should have any legislative power, not even the casting vote. His veto amounts to an appeal for "reconsideration" by the legislative branch, and not to a defeasance of the passage of the bill. Our constitution carefully distinguishes in its phraseology between the "passage" of a law and its "approval" by the governor. It nowhere confounds these terms. This Court further explained in Mounts that the functions of the Governor with respect to legislation as set forth in Article VII of the West Virginia Constitution are deliberative, but not legislative; and where the constitution expressly declares that, unless otherwise provided by the legislature in the act itself, every act shall go into effect at the expiration of 90 days from its passage, the approval of the governor relates back to the passage of the act, and the period of 90 days is computed from that time. (36 W.Va. at 187, 14 S.E. at 409.) In other words: "the signature of the governor was not intended by the constitution to be legislative in its character, and that in general, where an act takes effect at the expiration of 90 days after its passage, as prescribed in section 30, art. 6, of the constitution, the approval on the part of the governor by relation takes effect from the conclusion of the proceeding which was legislative." (36 W.Va. at 187-88, 14 S.E. at 409.) Accordingly, the Court held in Syllabus Point 2, in part, of Mounts: "The thirtieth section of article 6 of the constitution of this state concludes in the following language: "And no act of the legislature, except such as may be passed at the first session under this constitution, shall take effect until the expiration of ninety days after its passage, unless the legislature shall, by a vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house, taken by yeas and nays, otherwise direct." . . . The word "passage" in Section 30 of Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution relates to the date of the passage of the act by the two houses, and not to the date of its approval by the governor."