To veto or not to veto: the chances a bill will make it past PerryJune 20th, 2011 at 5:47 pm by Josh Hinkle under Politics
As the deadline for Gov. Rick Perry to take action on legislation came and went over the weekend, we took a look what became of every single regular session bills to hit his desk since his first term as governor. Since 2001, he has had to review nearly 8,700 items passed by lawmakers.
With 71% of the bills he signed since the 77th Regular Legislative Session, he took them up within the last three days before the deadline to do so passed. When it comes to the bills he vetoed, that number goes up to 98%.
Why so many late decisions? If the legislature is in session at the time of a veto, lawmakers could have the chance to override that decision. This is a rare move though, as the last time it happened was in 1979 with Republican Gov. Bill Clements’ veto of a hunting and fishing bill.
Clements’ veto of 184 vetoes in his tenure is a good indication of his relationship with the Democratic legislature. Now, Perry has beat Clements’ record with 259 vetoes, the bulk of those made in the three days before his deadline.
His last-minute moves were allowed because lawmakers typically did not pass most of their bills until the end of the session. If the session ends within ten days of the governor receiving a bill, he has another twenty days after adjournment to take it up.
Extra time and a powerful advantage. Since they aren’t in session within that 20-day timeframe, they can’t override vetoes. This was questioned recently with an online sales tax bill from the most recent regular session. Because the governor called a special session immediately after, lawmakers wondered whether they could override his veto on that bill.
The 1875 Constitutional Convention took away the legislature’s ability to consider any vetoed bills from a previous session. In regard to the previously mentioned tax bill, the general consensus among parliamentary experts was that a special session should not be reason to bend the rules. It’s not an extension of the regular session.
There have been 90 bills over the years Perry has let slide through as law by simply not signing them. And, in scouring his record, we found two others that never resulted in any action:
- In 2001, Perry returned Senate Bill 1672 to lawmakers at the end of the session. However, lawmakers never took this legislation relating to the disposition of certain real property owned by the state back up.
- In 2005, lawmakers recalled Senate Bill 1708 from Perry, so he would not sign it. This related to assessments levied on certain owners of cattle and used for marketing, education, research, and promotion of Texas beef.