Huntsman is concerned the measure would water down the threat of a veto, limiting his ability to persuade lawmakers to adopt his proposals.
Huntsman Chief of Staff Jason Chaffetz said he is not sure people understand that HB 97 will give legislators an "inordinate amount of power."
But, according to Curtis, the fail-safe bill is not "the power grab" the governor thinks it is. Huntsman would retain his ability to veto certain portions of the budget or the entire thing. Though the Republican's super majority in the Legislature also would retain its ability to override the governor.
The bill is not targeting Huntsman, Curtis said. Rather he and Senate President John Valentine developed the idea months before Huntsman was elected.
HB 97 stems from a budget battle in 2004, during which former Gov. Olene Walker threatened to veto the entire budget if lawmakers couldn't find $30 million for a reading program she supported. A compromise was reached in the waning hours of the session.
Curtis and Valentine concluded the state needs a provision in place to ward off a possible government shutdown if a stalemate can't be resolved. Congress can issue continuing resolutions to keep the government going when agreement can be reached, but the Utah Legislature does not have that option because it meets for only 45 days a year.
"I haven't heard President Bush complaining about it, but apparently it is bad policy here," Curtis said later. The bill would apply to the budget currently being debated if Curtis can get two-thirds of his colleagues in the House and Senate to vote for it.
"We're surprised they're going to slam this through so quickly," Chaffetz said.