With Veto Proof Majority, Veto Sessions Become A Bigger Issue

Posted in 80th Legislature, Road Issues at 11:37 pm by wcnews

From the comments on the post below on the veto proof majority this was mentioned:

Yeah, but here’s the problem. Unless the bill passes QUICKLY Perry can wait until after the session to veto it. The one power the Governor of Texas has is, in effect, an absolute veto. Supporters of the Pave Texas Corridor have only to drag their feet.

That being the case, If the TTC moratorium bill was passed lat in session, all Perry would have to do is wait, and the TTC moratorium would die. Passing veto sessions through the lege would add another check to the governor’s power. Gardner Selby from the AAS explains the issue very well, Lawmakers seek extra session to reverse late vetoes.

With hardly a peep from Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Texas lawmakers appear ready to ask voters to give them a new chance to override gubernatorial vetoes in brief sessions occurring after legislative sessions.

House members are slated to act todayon House Joint Resolution 59, a proposed constitutional amendment originated by Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston.

I don’t expect anybody to vote against it,” Elkins said Tuesday.

Twenty-five state senators are sponsoring a similar proposal. Texas voters “will be voting on it in November,” predicted Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, the lead sponsor.

Proposed constitutional amendments reach voters if they win approval by a two-thirds’ margins of the House and Senate. They do not require a governor’s sign-off.


Elkins said he drafted the proposal, which drew no testimony pro or con at a hearing, after override sessions in other states came up during his conversations with legislators from other states at a conference. Eleven states have override sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers can override vetoes by two-thirds’ votes of each body, but it’s a rare event. Texas governors have issued more than 2,000 vetoes since 1856, including 153 approved by Perry since he became governor in late 2000. Some 50 vetoes have been overridden, with the first override occurring in 1859 and the latest in 1979, according to the Legislative Reference Library.

The proposed amendment attempts to address the reality that a veto cannot be overridden if legislators are not in session.

The Texas Legislature holds 140-day regular sessions every two years. Members do not gather otherwise unless called into a special session by the governor.

Under the constitution, the governor has 10 days after receiving legislation to sign or veto it. Signing the legislation passes it into law, while vetoing it returns it to the Legislature with a veto message presenting reasons for the rejection. If lawmakers are in session at the time of the veto, legislators may attempt to reverse the veto or perhaps approve a modified proposal addressing the governor’s qualms.

But many measures are sent to the governor within 10 days of the session’s end. The governor can cast vetoes after a session, leaving legislators unable to react because they are not in session.

The proposed tweak would authorize a special session solely to consider overrides of vetoes issued within three days of the end of a session and in the following weeks.

The session could last up to three days and cost $75,000 to $100,000 for legislative and incidental expenses. During the session, which would occur after the last day for the governor to issue vetoes, members could review vetoes of all legislation, including items vetoed from the state budget.

If the constitutional tweak advances, it might be seen as another sign of the GOP-majority Legislature rethinking gubernatorial authority.

Another tool in the legislative tool box, shall we say. I don’t think this will do anything for bills vetoed this session, please correct me if I’m wroing. So the commenter’s remarks still stand. For the TTC moratorium veto to be overridden this session the lege needs to act fast. Otherwise the Texas GOP candidates will have a lot of ‘splainin to do in ’08.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Sen. Carona Jilts Toll Road Opposition said,

    March 22, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    […] is an issue where time is very important. Waiting and stalling does not work in this case and the longer Sen. Carona waits the less power he has - because of a […]

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