Gov. Rick Perry has vetoed 275 bills since he took office in December 2000 — including two in the past week. Now, dozens of bills from the 83rd Legislature's regular session are on his desk for review. They will either go into law — with or without the governor’s signature — or suffer a veto. In three of Perry's seven sessions as governor, he vetoed 50 or more bills. What was surprising the first time he did it — nixing 83 bills after the 2001 session — has become less surprising over time. It’s the particulars that confound lawmakers, who never seem to know which bills are on the chopping block.
This year — so far, anyway, since the governor’s veto list won’t be complete until June 16 — the headline-grabber was Perry’s veto of a bill that would require nonprofits that get involved in elections to reveal the names of their otherwise secret donors.
|SB 346||Relating to reporting requirements of certain persons who do not meet the definition of political committee.|
In 2011, the veto of a ban on texting-while-driving got the headlines. A similar bill died in a Senate committee this year.
|HB 242||Relating to the enforcement of public safety, including the privileges and duties of certain types of law enforcement officers.|
After the 2009 legislative session, Perry vetoed an expansion of pre-kindergarten in public schools and a bill that would have allowed state highway officials use state funds to advertise and promote toll-road programs.
|HB 130||Relating to an enhanced quality full-day prekindergarten program provided by public school districts in conjunction with community providers.|
|HB 2142||Relating to the promotion of toll projects by the Texas Department of Transportation.|
The 2007 surprise was the governor’s veto of an eminent domain bill pushed by fellow conservatives. That fueled a political split between Perry and one of his original institutional backers — the Texas Farm Bureau. He also killed a bill that would have extended special pension benefits — the benefits extended to elected officials — to a couple of non-elected House employees. He had signed a similar bill two years earlier.
|HB 2006||Relating to the use of eminent domain authority.|
|HB 3609||Relating to membership and service credit in the Employees Retirement System of Texas for certain employees.|
In 2005, Perry was back in the budget, vetoing $35.3 billion in funding for public education. That forced a special session, a revision to the state’s business franchise tax, and a round of property tax relief that turned out to be more short-lived than the politicians hoped as value increases ate up the property owners' tax savings.
|SB 1||General Appropriations Act. (Line item veto.)|
After the 2003 session, he whacked 50 bills, but the vetoes that got attention were in the state budget. At the time, then-Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said lawmakers had spent more money than they had available and threatened not to certify their work, as the Texas Constitution requires. Perry made some cuts, the budget balanced, and Perry and Strayhorn were on their way to a feud settled when he won the 2006 race for governor and she went home.
|HB 1||General Appropriations Act. (Line item veto.)|
In 2001, the governor vetoed legislation that would have banned the use of the death penalty on convicted killers with profound mental disabilities. Another veto went to a bill that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
|HB 236||Relating to the applicability of the death penalty to a capital offense committed by a person with mental retardation.|
|HB 396||Relating to the requirement that an applicant for a driver's license provide certain identification information to the Department of Public Safety and to the duty of the department to provide a voter registration application form to an applicant.|