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Governor Issues Vetoes, Some County-Related Bills Impacted

On June 14, Gov. Rick Perry exercised his veto authority on several bills, adding to the two vetoes he had already issued in May. The vetoes came just two days before the June 16 deadline for Perry to take action on the bills.

In total, the governor vetoed 26 bills, some of which were county-related. Perry also used his line-item veto authority on certain budget matters, including the elimination of state funding for the Public Integrity Unit. The unit, which is operated by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, is responsible for investigating public corruption cases.

With each veto, Gov. Perry issued a statement explaining his rationale for objecting to the legislation. The following are county-related bills that were vetoed, along with a quote from the governor on the reason for vetoing the bill.

HB 1790 by Rep. Longoria - Relating to certain procedures for defendants who successfully complete a period of state jail felony community supervision. The intent of House Bill 1790 can already be achieved under current law. A mechanism already exists to prosecute a state jail felony as a Class A misdemeanor in circumstances where the prosecutor sees fit.” Complete Veto Statement.

HB 1982 by Rep. Murphy - Relating to the enterprise zone program. “I applaud the intent of House Bill 1982 to improve the enterprise zone program by requiring projects that get the biggest tax refunds to create more jobs rather than focusing on job retention. However, HB 1982 also contains ambiguous language which could hurt, rather than help, the program.” Complete Veto Statement.

HB 3085 by Rep. Walle - Relating to the regulation of automotive wrecking and salvage yards in certain counties; increasing the civil penalty. House Bill 3085 increases the maximum civil penalty from $1,000 to $5,000 a day for violations of the Transportation Code concerning salvage yards in the unincorporated areas of Harris County, which are defined as an area where three or more vehicles are being used for parts, or are kept for the purpose of an automotive repair or rebuilding business. This low threshold means someone repairing vehicles as a side business, or even someone who owns a few cars with the intent to sell, could be subjected to these unnecessarily high daily penalties.” Complete Veto Statement.

SB 219 by Sen. Huffman - Relating to ethics of public servants, including the functions and duties of the Texas Ethics Commission; the regulation of political contributions, political advertising, lobbying, and conduct of public servants; and the reporting of political contributions and expenditures and personal financial information; providing civil and criminal penalties. “The last-minute addition of a resign-to-run requirement for members of the Railroad Commission would change the structure of a constitutional agency without the consent of Texas voters. Any effort to amend a constitutional office should go to a vote of the people.” Complete Veto Statement.

SB 722 by Sen. Ellis - Relating to eligibility to serve as an interpreter in an election. Moreover, the elimination of the requirement that an interpreter selected by the voter be from the county will lead to the likelihood of undue influence being placed on the voter to agree to "select" activists from outside the area with whom the voter is not familiar.” Complete Veto Statement.

SB 1234 by Sen. Whitmire - Relating to the prevention of truancy and the offense of failure to attend school. Senate Bill 1234 will hurt established local programs and prevent schools from identifying and helping address the issues students are facing.” Complete Veto Statement.

SB 1606 by Sen. Zaffirini - Relating to ad valorem tax liens on personal property. By providing taxing authorities with an automatic lien on property they do not have the authority to tax, this bill could lead to abusive taxing authorities overextending their reach, to the detriment of smaller taxing units and taxpayers.” Complete Veto Statement.