AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a myriad of bills Saturday; 42 in all. Among them, softer penalties for prostitution (HB1363), and a bill that would give state employees more flexibility to work from home (SB1032).
It’s the most bills vetoed since former Gov. Rick Perry rejected 56 bills in 2007, but far short of the 83 bills Perry spiked during his first year on the job, which helped set his defiant tone.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 20, 2015
House Bill 1363 would have allowed up to two prostitution offenses to fall under a Class C Misdemeanor.
The author of Senate Bill 1032, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, claimed it would reduce rush hour traffic and improve employee retention.
Also under the governor’s veto pen: Slashing $300 million from the two-year Texas budget. The cuts included the cancellation of a parking garage for a government building in Houston, and borrowing to replace a San Antonio state office building.
Proud to sign a budget proving gov can control spending while ensuring the essential needs of its citizens are met http://t.co/jaEckCp44G
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) June 21, 2015
Vetoes included two bills on ethics reform, which allowed a loophole for a spouse’s financial dealings. Although the bills would have tightened some disclosure rules, even ethics watchdogs considered what became known as the “spousal loophole” amendment far too toxic.
The sweep of 42 today capped Abbott’s inability in his first year to strengthen ethics laws. In January, Abbott promised shortly after to strengthen ethics laws within the first year; he even named it one of five legislative priorities, alongside upgrades to border security and Texas pre-K.
Although critics have long denounced Texas’ ethics laws as soft, Abbott was forced to confront issues of transparency and oversight early when a $110 billion no-bid state contracting scandal erupted shortly after he was elected in November.
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