Secretary of State David Whitley resigned last week after state Senators failed to vote on his confirmation. Rocha says Gov. Greg Abbott, who had been working with Whitley since 2004, has to appoint someone new to the position.
“Even some of the Democratic Senators who didn’t vote for him said ‘Hey, I like David, but he messed up here,” referring to the botched voter role review,” Rocha says.
In the past week, Abbott vetoed four bills authored by Democrats who opposed Whitley’s confirmation. Rocha says although the bills weren’t necessarily huge measures, lawmakers were skeptical about Abbott’s reasoning because the bills received wide bipartisan support.
“Before they adjourned, Secretary [of the Senate] Patsy Spaw read these four bills and the reasons for their vetoes,” Rocha says. “Some of the reasons didn’t match. The governor would say ‘you can’t just throw money at a problem,’ but then the bill would have no fiscal note. So they questioned his motivations and said he’s not a tit-for-tat governor.”
Dennis Bonnen finished his first legislative session as House Speaker on Monday. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle praised him for his role this legislative session, Rocha says, and it’s a safe bet he will return to that role in two years.
“He said he would let the members drive the session, and he did that,” Rocha says. “Everyone was very pleased with his performance at the helm in his first term.“