Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 50 bills Thursday – the largest number of bills vetoed by a governor since 2007.
Reporter John Moritz, who covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network, says one theme of the governor’s vetoes was state versus local control. A number of the vetoes seek to preempt city and county laws that the governor opposes.
“The governor is definitely making clear that he doesn’t want to see a patchwork of local ordinances that might be in conflict with each other as, say, a motorist drives down I-35 [and is subject to] new rules for texting in Austin [and] old rules in San Antonio,” Moritz says.
Bills vetoed by Abbott Thursday include:
– SB 790, co-sponsored by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), would have extended the life of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee. The governor said the committee had completed its work, and did not need an extension.
– Abbott vetoed a bill that would have allowed small counties to conduct primary runoff elections exclusively via mail-in ballot. He expressed some support for the bill during the legislative session, but said in his veto message that mail-in ballots are more subject to fraud than other forms of voting.
– A bill that would have allowed developers who destroy protected trees in the course of clearing land to plant new trees, rather than paying a fine, earned a veto, despite the governor’s stated dislike of local ordinances that protect trees, or restrict what landowners can do with trees on their property. Moritz says it is likely Abbott wants lawmakers to pass a bill that disallows all local tree ordinances during the upcoming special legislative session.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.