House votes to trim governor's veto power due to tolls and other controversies

Link to article here.

Between the HPV mandate, the sale of the state lottery to a private company who hired his son, fast-tracking coal plants, and the privately financed toll road controversy, Governor Rick Perry has invited many curbs to power. He consistently and clearly oversteps his authority and/or fails to heed the will of the people.

House votes to trim governor’s veto power

By JANET ELLIOTT
Houston Chronicle
March 21, 2007

AUSTIN -— In another rebuff to Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas House passed a
proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday for an automatic special
session during which lawmakers could attempt to override gubernatorial
vetoes.

“I want to be part of the game,” said Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston,
author of House Joint Resolution 59.

The resolution easily received the needed two-thirds vote, passing
109-29. A similar measure in the Senate is co-sponsored by 26 out of
the 31 senators.

Last week the House passed a bill to revoke Perry’s executive order
requiring middle school girls to get an HPV vaccine.

Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, was one of the few to oppose the veto
measure.

“I know a lot of people would like to spit in the governor’s eye,”
Swinford said. “I hope you enjoy doing that.”

He called the proposal a “sham” that upsets the constitutional balance
of powers between the legislative and executive branches. He said Texas
has been well-served by the existing system.

“This is the separation of powers the way the founders of our state
intended,” Swinford said.

If the Senate passes the measure, the constitutional amendment would be
placed before voters in November.

It would require an automatic five-day session at the end of the
gubernatorial veto period in late June.

Perry returned Wednesday evening from an economic development trip to
the Middle East.

“The governor is more interested in working with the Legislature to
pass good bills where a veto is not a consideration, and he would hope
that would be the goal of the House or the Senate as well,” spokeswoman
Krista Moody said.

The post-session veto is one of the few strong powers afforded the Texas
governor. Perry has liberally exercised his veto power, using it to
kill dozens of bills and eliminate $2 billion from state budgets since
2001.

He vetoed 83 bills in 2001 and in 2005 eliminated the entire education
budget in an effort to force lawmakers to change the school finance
system.

The governor has 10 days to sign or veto bills that arrive on his desk
during a legislative session. However, for the vast majority of bills
passed in the final week of the session, the governor has 20 days to
review the legislation.

At that point, lawmakers have no recourse and must wait until the next
biennial session to try again to pass the bills.

It takes a vote of two-thirds of the House and Senate to override a
veto. That has not happened since 1979.

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