California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to veto a bill proposing a special day of commemoration for gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

The bill has already passed the state’s house and senate, and if signed by Schwarzenegger, will pass into law as a special commemorative day to encourage schools to recognise the activist’s work.

According to the San Fransisco Chronicle, the governor has around 700 bills on his desk that must be signed or vetoed by Sunday at midnight. They include measures on education, ammunition and insurance.

However, he has issued a veiled threat to veto all unless lawmakers reach an agreement by the weekend on the state’s water system.

Milk was a gay activist who was assassinated in 1978. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. During his 11 months in office he sponsored a gay rights bill and helped to defeat a proposition that would have seen openly gay and lesbian teachers sacked.

Nearly 40,000 California residents signed the petition for the commemorative day. It would not be an official holiday, but would encourage schools to remember Milk’s actions.

Before the release of the film bearing Milk’s name, Schwarzenegger vetoed an almost identical bill, saying the activist was not well-known enough.