Texas news is abuzz over the vetoes executed by Gov. Greg Abbott. While there is much debate over whether the bills that were killed were good or not, why did the governor veto these bills?
The state reported the governor’s veto statements on June 15. There were many reasons for the vetoes, some more interesting than others. Some were even vetoed at the request of the bill’s author! For the most part, however, Gov. Abbott vetoed bills because they would have expanded the power of the government at various levels, or because they were redundant.
Time and time again the governor stated that the reason for his veto is that there are already similar laws on the books. He wrote that signing this bill would have created confusing or conflicting remedies. HB 1284 was a failed attempt to get Gov. Abbott to pass an identical bill that he vetoed two years earlier. These are shining examples of the problem with lawmakers continuing to needlessly write laws.
There is variety in some of the more eye-catching vetoes, absent the redundancy mentioned above. Let’s examine a few.
Gov. Abbott vetoed HB 462 because he felt it gave the legislature state agency regulatory authority that belongs only to the executive branch.
HB 570 would have criminalized improper disposal of tires, an issue whose administrative oversight is within county jurisdiction, but varies from county to county. The governor wrote: “Surely there are better ways to address the problem of old tires than by creating a new and vaguely defined crime.”
The governor’s veto of HB 744 protects Texans’ property rights from their municipality, with respect to regulating trees. The governor says that when it comes to private property rights, the state is obligated to defend Texans, even from their own municipality. Cities should not be telling their residents what to do with their own property.
The governor vetoed HB 1342 because he preferred—and signed—the Senate version of the bill. The Senate bill would have directed the Texas Education Agency to develop a sex abuse prevention curriculum, while protecting parent’s right to exempt their child from courses containing intimate discussions.
HB 2410 would have prohibited counties from exclusively using a mail-in ballot system, rather than voting in person. Voter fraud would be almost impossible to curtail in the absence of in-person voting.
When the governor vetoed HB 3025, he protected property owners from their ground water district. The bill would have allowed district officials to arbitrarily enter your property and order repairs to your well. If you chose not to comply, the district would return to your property, complete the repairs and bill you!
The Governor Protecting Us From Our Legislature
After reading through the entire list of vetoed bills, I have a deeper respect for the amount of knowledge an effective governor must have of the laws of his state. This enables the governor to be able recognize redundancies and potential conflicts of proposed bills. Our lawmakers are unaware of the laws of our state, as illustrated by the fact that they propose redundant laws. Otherwise, why would they waste the taxpayer’s time and money trying to accomplish what has already been done?
Every law passed is a liberty lost. A law should protect me from you, not me from myself, as with seat belts laws. Laws should not be ever more creatively worded, nor layered with increasing penalties.
Lawmakers should not take themselves so seriously. Their oath of office is not primarily to create meaningful law, but to defend our liberties protected by our Constitution. In the words of Benjamin Martin from Mel Gibson’s epic movie “The Patriot,” “An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king can.” Gov. Abbott has the wit and wisdom to identify bills that should never come to fruition. Thank you sir!