Note: The video above is from a report on June 18, 2021, before the governor’s announcement.
AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed the legislature’s portion of the state budget after an elections bill he prioritized was killed when Democrats walked out at end of this year’s session.
During a dramatic end to the session at the end of May, Democrats walked out of the House chamber before a midnight deadline to pass Republicans’ Senate Bill 7, leaving the House without a quorum to vote.
On Friday, Abbott said he signed a “fiscally conservative” state budget and confirmed he vetoed the legislature’s portion.
In a statement, Abbott said: “Texans don’t run from a legislative fight, and they don’t walk away from unfinished business. Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session. I therefore object to and disapprove of these appropriations.”
Vetoing the lawmakers’ portion of the budget would keep them and their staffs from getting paid after August 31 and would require a special session.
Abbott said he would call a special session for the elections bill, as well as one on bail reform, but a date has not yet been decided.
Chris Turner, the chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, responded to Abbott’s decision by saying, in part, “Texas has a governor, not a dictator or emperor. The tyrannical veto of the legislative branch is the latest indication that Governor Greg Abbott is simply out of control. Abbott’s actions are an inexcusable and dangerous attack on the separation of powers, as his veto consolidates more power in his own office…”
Provisions of SB 7 included giving more access to poll watchers and making it easier for a judge to overturn an election due to fraud.
There was also a provision to prohibit voting on Sundays before 1 p.m., which many saw as an attempt to discourage Black residents taking part in a nationwide church movement known as “souls to the polls.” However, lawmakers later clarified the 1 p.m. time was an error and that it should have said 11 a.m.
Full interviews with State Sen. Nathan Johnson and State Rep. Matt Shaheen with thoughts on vetoing legislature’s budget (before announcement):