Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed lots of bills sent to him by the legislature last week, as Sunday evening’s deadline quickly approached. Abbott also ended up vetoing a few measures that came to his desk. He documented much of this on social media, and has also gotten a lot of practice taking video selfies: Abbott has posted videos of himself signing laws like the one that makes it OK for kids to operate lemonade stands, or the one that outlaws telemarketers from disguising their phone numbers.
Bob Garrett, Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News, has been tracking the more than 1,200 bills the governor signed, and the 58 bills he vetoed, which Garrett says is “a little on the high side.” But it’s far short of the 80 bills Rick Perry vetoed in 2001.
“He’s very meticulous about this, being a lawyer, former judge,” Garrett says. “He takes pride in going over every jot and tittle of every one of these bills.”
One bill Abbott vetoed would have required that toddlers be placed in rear-facing car seats when on the road. Garrett says the governor called the proposal “micromanagement” and an invasion of parental rights. Garrett says law enforcement and child advocacy groups had supported the bill.
The car seat bill is an example of another statistic Garrett cites about Abbott’s vetoes: he rejected twice as many bills sponsored by Democrats as bills sponsored by members of his own Republican Party.
Garrett says he’s not convinced Abbott acted solely out of partisan animus.
“He’s looking for things that are sloppily written,” Garrett says. “He’s kind of like a copy editor in my business. He finds errors and says, ‘Try again next time.'”
Abbott signed the two-year state budget without once wielding his line-item veto pen.
“He has, like Ricky Perry before him, given a small haircut to the budget, and then sort of beating his chest as to what a fiscal conservative he is,” Garrett says.
Garrett says he was surprised to see Abbott preserve the unity he had stressed all session with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Abbott signed a bill expanding the use of medical maijuana in Texas. Though the expansion was “very carefully done” to limit the number of medical conditions for which marijuana can be used, Garrett says the bill reflects a change in Americans’ attitudes toward cannabis.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.