The deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to consider bills is fast approaching.
Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution specifies that Abbott has until Sunday, June 20 to determine whether to sign, veto, or allow a bill to become law without his signature.
Legislative Priorities Still Awaiting his Consideration
The overall state budget for the next biennium, or Senate Bill 1, is still awaiting the approval of Abbott. He has the ability to employ what is called a line-item veto for specific appropriations without completely vetoing the overall bill. He recently spoke favorably of the specific portion of the budget allocating over $1 billion to border security efforts. As a result of two of his emergency legislative priorities dying at the conclusion of the legislative session, however, he also threatened to defund the legislature or the specific portion of the budget which allocates funding of their operations, causing the ire of several lawmakers who expressed concerns over separation of powers.
Other priorities awaiting his consideration include Abbott’s own emergency legislative priorities like the expansion of broadband to rural and underserved areas of the state as well as business liability “protections” from frivolous lawsuits as a result of a pandemic like COVID-19.
The list of priorities also includes constitutional carry, the ‘ban’ on critical race theory, various religious freedom protection bills, the omnibus telemedicine or telehealth bill, the First Responders Pandemic Care Act, oil and gas investment protections, phase I of the Texas Consumer Privacy Act and more.
It is likely there will be a flurry of bills signed into law this week, as well as several that do not get the signature of Abbott’s but still go into effect. Expect several of the bills that Abbott would want to use for his own reelection efforts to be the ones that garner a publicly displayed bill-signing ceremony.