Commentary

Governor Perry vetoes 35 bills

AUSTIN—Gov. Rick Perry signed the 2010-2011 state budget and vetoed 35 bills two days before Sunday, June 21, the deadline for approving or vetoing legislation passed by the 81st Texas Legislature.

The budget leaves the state's $6.7 billion rainy day fund untouched but includes $12 billion in federal stimulus money.

Perry said the final outcome of all bills would "move Texas in the right direction."

Now, here are samples of a few bills the governor vetoed:

HB 130, creating a prekindergarten education grant program. In his veto statement, Perry said a similar grant program already exists, and the new state budget contains $25 million earmarked for HB 130, so the Texas Education Agency should use those funds to bring 21,000 more students into the existing program.

HB 821, mandating that television manufacturers collect and recycle a quantity of televisions to be determined annually by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

HB 1293, creating disclosure requirements and consumer education standards relating to the sale and marketing of life insurance and annuities.

"Although the bill establishes standards of transparency and improvements that are important, I believe it will do more harm than good" because it would create more opportunities for frivolous lawsuits, Perry said.

HB 3481, authorizing the expunction of criminal records, including law enforcement case files, 180 days after an arrest if no formal misdemeanor or felony charges have been filed.

HB 3485, relating to certain county, municipal, district, and other governmental functions, procedures, powers, duties, and services, including certain criminal procedures. "The bill's provision regarding physician liability was neither debated nor discussed, but rather amended onto this bill late in the session.

"It risks unraveling the progress we made in curtailing excessive liability and ensuring that patients who need physicians will be able to find them," Perry said.

SB 1440, clarifying guidelines on how the Department of Family and Protective Services takes children into custody. Perry said he vetoed the legislation because it could infringe on the rights of parents and guardians.

SB 2558, allow ing beer and malt beverage tastings to be held in a branded vehicle on the premises of a retailer with a permit to sell alcohol, therefore allowing alcohol consumption in a vehicle.

"The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission would be required to increase its on-site inspections to ensure the proper precautions are taken to prevent serving to minors and over-consumption," Perr y said, in explaining his veto.

And, here are a few samples of bills the governor approved:

HB 4586, the supplemental appropriations bill that includes $150 million in funding to help the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston recover from Hurricane Ike.

HB 4409, reforming the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association "to ultimately reduce the burden of catastrophic storms on the state and eventually establish TWIA as an insurer of last resort," Perry said.

HB 4765, tripling the small business franchise tax exemption from $300,000 to $1 million. thereby lowering the tax burden for more than 40,000 small businesses across Texas.

HB 4294, allowing public schools to purchase electronic textbooks. Perry backed up the bill with an executive order that underscores the State Board of Education's role in the electronic textbook approval process.

Jobless rate increases

Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in May to 7.1 percent and continued to trend below the national rate of 9.4 percent, the Texas Workforce Commission reported.

U.S. labor statistics show Texas recorded a net loss of 222,600 jobs in the past 12 months, compared with job losses of 5.4 million nationwide during the same period.

edsterling@texaspress.com


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2009-06-25 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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