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The state defends Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent veto on legislative funding as a bipartisan group of former heads of state – along with other Democrats – clash with the governor.
The state faced a Monday deadline to respond to a Democratic lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to overturn Abbott’s veto, which it issued after House Democrats staged a walkout which killed the Republicans Priority Election Bill at the end of the regular session in May. Abbott has vowed to bring the bill back in a special session and scheduled one to begin on Thursday; he has not yet announced the agenda.
“The governor properly exercised the veto power conferred on him by the Texas Constitution and acted in accordance with the precedent of this Court,” the state said in its response. “Under the Texas Constitution, the governor has the exclusive power to disapprove any bill.”
At the same time, three former heads of state filed an amicus dossier claiming Abbott’s veto is “an attempt to intimidate members of the Legislative Assembly and circumvent democracy”. The brief was tabled by former Speaker of the House Joe Straus, a Republican; former Speaker of the House Pete Laney, a Democrat; and former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, a Republican.
The memoir says Abbott’s movement“Should be reprimanded by people of all political stripes”.
Abbott’s veto stripped part of the state budget that funds the Legislative Assembly, itsstaff and legislative bodies. The budget covers the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1 and Abbott raised the possibility that he could give lawmakers the option of restoring funding in a special session before that date.
The state cited this possibility in its response, arguing that Democrats did not have standing because they had not yet been affected by the veto.
In any event, however, the state argued that Abbott’s veto was constitutionally strong and that the courts “have no role to play in such a political-branch dispute.”
Another amicus dossier surfaced on Monday that opposed Abbott’s veto and was signed by the 13 Texas Senate Democrats, along with a group of law professors and a few current and former Republican elected officials. GOP signatories included State Representative Lyle Larson of San Antonio, as well as former State Representatives Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen and Sarah Davis of West University Place.