AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Rick Perry has 1,170 pieces of legislation either awaiting his signature or a veto stamp, and just three days left to make the choice.
The Sunday deadline will cap a week of will-he-or-won’t-he run for president questions for Perry, as well as a full schedule of nationwide appearances, including a keynote address to an investment firm Thursday in Austin and a Saturday trip to New Orleans to speak to a group of
Republicans. Already this week, he’s been to New York City and North Carolina.
Perry’s spokesman, Mark Miner, said the governor’s priority is on the Texas Legislature and his travel has been aimed at promoting Texas and talking about jobs and the economy, which are “important issues to the people of Texas.”
“The deadline is Sunday and the appropriate action will be taken on the current bills that are in front of him,” Miner said. “He’s spent a considerable amount of time going through each and every bill that comes across his desk.”
According to the Legislative Reference Library, 1,379 bills were sent to Perry’s desk during the regular session that ended May 30. By Thursday afternoon, he had signed or vetoed 277 bills. He also can allow the legislation to become law without his signature.
The remaining legislation includes most of the state budget for 2012-2013. Spending for public schools is still being considered in a special legislative session called by Perry. He has line-item veto authority on the $Texas budget.
“He went from just paying partial attention to the Legislature to paying zero attention as he’s kicking off his presidential non-campaign,” said Rep. Jessica Farrar, the leader of the House Democrats.
“I do hope he can find some time in his busy schedule to do what he’s paid to do, which is to sign this budget.”
At his Austin speech, Perry touted Central Texas as “the next Silicon Valley.”
He was speaking to a meeting of venture capitalists in Austin.
Perry says this year’s legislative sessions have been “challenging.” But he called them successful because lawmakers have kept the “job-creating” atmosphere of low taxes, limited regulation and lawsuit restrictions.
He says the area’s focus on research and development is drawing bright minds and promising new ventures in science and health care.