Abbott vetoes 50 bills passed by Legislature

That's several more than he vetoed following the last session and the most a governor has doled out since 2007.

Abbott offered a number of common explanations for his vetoes, calling the bills unnecessary, too costly or too burdensome. He vetoed at least five bills for the same reason: The House bill's author asked for a veto because he prefers the Senate companion.

Abbott vetoed one measure, House Bill 1284, because, in his telling, the legislation was the "exact same bill" that he vetoed in 2015. The legislation deals with the licensing for certain electrical workers.

In at least two instances, Abbott vetoed bills on the same topics that he has asked lawmakers to address in a special session starting July 18. One of them, House Bill 2410, would have allowed for mail-in-ballot-only elections under specific circumstances in small counties — Abbott said mail-in ballot fraud is too serious of a problem to risk it.

Another measure he vetoed Thursday was Senate Bill 790, which would have kept in operation an advisory group that makes recommendations to the state on its women's health services.

Abbott said in his veto statement that SB 790 "does nothing more than extend the expiration date of a governmental committee that has already successfully completed its mission."

"Rather than prolong government committees beyond their expiration date, the state should focus on programs that address more clearly identifiable needs, like my call for action to address the maternal mortality rate during the special session," Abbott said.

Janet Realini, vice chair of the women's health advisory committee, said wrapping up the group was premature.

"There's 1.8 million women who need publicly subsidized services, family planning in particular, and right now we're serving less than a quarter of those, so I think we have a long way to go," she said.

All of Abbott's veto statements announced Thursday can be viewed here. Abbott faces a Sunday deadline to veto any bill passed during the regular session, but his office said he was done after the 50 vetoes.

Kirby Wilson and Marissa Evans contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/15/gov-greg-abbott-vetoes-50-bills-passed-texas-legislature/.

 

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