Texas Politics - The Legislative Branch
  1. Tradition and Modernity
  2. Looking Ahead
  1. Sessions
  2. Special Sessions
  3. Bicameral Structure
  4. Membership
  5. Compensation
  6. Terms of Office
  1. Formal
  2. Informal
  3. Party
  4. Gender, Race, Ethnicity
  5. Incumbency
  6. Age and Occupation
  1. Historical Perspective
Powers and Immunities
  1. Bills
  2. Resolutions
  3. Administrative Powers
  4. Investigative, Impeachment
  5. Immunities
Presiding Officers and Powers
  1. Senate Pres./Lt. Governor
  2. Speaker of the House
  3. Pro Tempore Positions
  1. Committees
  2. System Impact
How a Bill Becomes a Law
  1. Intro, Referral
  2. Committee Action
  3. Floor Action
  4. Conference Committee
  5. Governor's Desk
Citizens Legislative Power
  1. Constitutional Amendments
  2. Initiative and Referendum
10  Conclusions
  1. Reforms
  2. Citizen Participation
  1. Print-friendly format
  2. Key words and phrases
  3. Multimedia resources
  4. Lt. Governors table
  5. Speakers table
Barry McBee Barry McBee discusses 2001 Perry vetoes.
video 256k90k56k
Bills signed and vetoed by recent governors Bills signed and vetoed by recent governors
appropriations bill
line-item veto
8.5    Governor's Desk

The chief executive (the Governor) must approve or reject all proposed legislation. The state Constitution gives the Governor ten days after receiving a bill (not counting Sundays) to take action. If the Legislature has adjourned this period is extended to twenty days.

The Governor can take one of three actions:
    1. sign the bill into law
    2. take no action, which allows the bill to become law after the period for gubernatorial consideration expires (ten or twenty days)
    3. veto the bill by sending a formal message of rejection to the Legislature

In the case of appropriations bills, the governor also has the option of vetoing specific items with the line-item veto. This type of veto does not apply to other types of bills.

When the Governor vetoes legislation, the Legislature may override the veto with a two-thirds vote in each house. However, because the legislative session is so short, many vetoes occur after the Legislature has adjourned, thereby denying any opportunity to override the Governor's decision. A bill cannot be taken up in a subsequent legislative session unless it goes through the entire legislative process all over again.

Recently, the issue of post-session vetoes by the Governor has come to the public's attention because of concerns about the influence of special interests. Within days after the 77th legislative session ended in 2001, Governor Rick Perry accepted over $1.2 million in campaign contributions, including $175,000 on the first full day after the session adjourned. Most of this first day's haul came from members of Texans for Lawsuit Reform. As it turned out, Mr. Perry vetoed eighty-two bills: a record number. These included four bills that the lawsuit reform group opposed.

One might expect high numbers of vetoes, given the increasing number of bills passed by an ever efficient legislature over the past decade. Still, the eighty-two bills vetoed in 2001 seemed unusually high and generated some criticism. [7] Subsequent ethics legislation passed in the 78th legislature prohibited campaign contributions later than the thirtieth day before the legislative session convenes or before the twentieth day after the legislative session ends.

7 Austin American-Statesman, editorial, August 28, 2002.

Texas Politics:
© 2005, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin