Notes & Noticias – Politically Motivated Vetoes

Dear Friends,

It’s no easy feat to pass a bill in our Legislature. From the short session times to the process of navigating committees to working out differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill, it can be challenging to turn even the most common-sense ideas or urgently needed reforms into law.

So it’s all the more frustrating when Rick Perry vetoes good laws — especially when he does it for openly political reasons.

This week’s Notes and Noticias looks at some of Perry’s more politically motivated vetoes, many of which negated legislation that passed with broad bipartisan support.

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Politically Motivated Vetoes

Many of Rick Perry’s vetoes this session have a clear political motivation behind them. Good policies should not be vetoed for political reasons. Below are just some of Perry’s most egregious actions after the end of the regular legislative session.

HB 950: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

This bill — which passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support — provided a necessary clarification in Texas law to make sure women can sue in Texas courts over gender-based pay discrimination. Our state’s court system has ruled inconsistently on whether the federal law applies to gender-based pay discrimination in Texas. This veto hurts the Texas women who currently earn less money than their male counterparts, and it hurts the families and communities that are also negatively impacted by pay discrimination.

HB 1: Public Integrity Unit Funding

Republicans have long wanted to shut down the Public Integrity Unit (PIU), a division of the Travis County DA that investigates and prosecutes ethics violations and corruption statewide. After the unit survived efforts by some of my colleagues to shut it down, transfer it, or defund it, Perry used a line item veto to strip funding for the PIU from the state budget. Perry should not be allowed to defund an ethics division that is currently investigating potential ethics violations involving him and his donors.

SB 15: College and University Governing Boards

Perry also vetoed a bill that would have more strictly defined the role of college and university boards of regents in Texas. This was a necessary bill that emphasized the role of the system chancellor over the regents, and established important governing principles. The veto is part of Perry’s ongoing efforts to use his appointed UT regents to micromanage the University of Texas to the detriment of the reputation of the institution.

HB 217: Healthy Beverages in Schools

I’m committed to helping our Texas school children eat healthy foods in schools. I was disappointed that Perry vetoed a bill that banned sodas and sugary drinks that are linked to obesity and offer little nutritional benefits. There’s no reason not to provide our kids with the healthiest range of choices possible in our schools.

My colleagues and I work hard to pass good legislation that improves the lives of Texans. It’s frustrating to see this effort be negated by Perry’s political ambitions.

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