Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Amendment to override governor's veto has passed the House, will be heard in Senate

HJR 29, by Rep. Gary Elkins (Republican of Houston), would place a constitutional amendment before the voters in November "to allow the legislature to override a veto of the governor following a legislative session." This measure would fix the problem of the governor waiting to veto legislation until after the session is over, thus making it impossible for the Legislature to override his veto, even if the votes are there.

HJR 29 has already passed the House with only token opposition: 131 Yeas, 16 Nays, 1 Present, not voting. Our HD 52 Rep. Diana Maldonado voted yes. HJR 29 now will be heard in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Thursday, April 30, in the Senate Chamber at 1 p.m. or upon adjournment of the full Senate.

Gov. 39% has used this tactic in the past to veto popular legislation that had overwhelming support of the legislators and their constituents, such as the strong eminent domain bill in 2007. Organizations like the Texas Farm Bureau worked hard on this bill all during the session, and it was greatly desired by property owners such as those threatened by the Trans-Texas Corridor. It passed the House 143-0 and the Senate 29-1. After the legislators went home, Perry vetoed it.

The progress of HJR 29 to authorize a way to override late vetoes is the result of Perry's past vetoes that annoyed enough legislators to bring things to this point. In other words, his past actions might come back to bite not only him, but future governors, who will have lost this power of their office due to Perry's abuse of it.

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