87th LegislatureIssuesState HouseState SenateVeto Tracker: A List of Bills From the 87th Legislature Gov. Greg Abbott Has Vetoed

Under Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution, Gov. Greg Abbott has the authority to veto bills passed by the legislature.
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Gov. Greg Abbott has the authority to veto bills that do not receive the approval of two-thirds of both the Texas Senate and Texas House. A list of bills Abbott has vetoed can be found below. 

Check back daily for updates on which bills have made it through the legislative process only to fail at the final checkpoint.

Senate Bill 813

Author: Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)

Sponsor: Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mt. Pleasant)

The Texan Tumbler

Caption: Relating to the insurance premium tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

Abbott’s statement: “I am vetoing Senate Bill 813 at the request of the author and sponsor based on the Legislature’s passage of House Bill 3777, which would amend the Texas Tax Code to narrow the applicability of the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. That program issues franchise tax or insurance premium tax credits worth up to 25 percent of the eligible expenses of rehabilitating a certified historic structure. Senate Bill 813 would have duplicated the authorizing statute for the program in the Texas Insurance Code, but would have created parameters for certified historic structures that differ from House Bill 3777 and thus could cause confusion with respect to the qualification of a project for insurance or franchise tax credits.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 686

Authors: Speaker Pro Tem Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Reps. Brad Buckley (R-Killeen), Victoria Neave (D-Dallas), James White (R-Hillister), and Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson).

Sponsor: Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville)

Caption: Relating to the release on parole of certain youthful offenders; changing parole eligibility.

Abbott’s statement: “The author of House Bill 686 is to be commended for aiming to provide opportunities for the young offender population. The bill, which addresses parole eligibility for juvenile offenders, admirably recognizes the potential for change and encourages rehabilitation and productiveness in the young offender population. As written, though, the bill’s language conflicts with jury instructions required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which would result in confusion and needless, disruptive litigation. And the bill would cause disparate results in parole eligibility for juvenile offenders by failing to account for all circumstances in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054. Further changes to address these issues will allow for meaningful reform on this important matter, and I look forward to working with the House author to accomplish that goal.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 787

Authors: Reps. Alma Allen (D-Houston), Andrew Murr (R-Junction), Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), James White (R-Hillister), and Carl Sherman Sr. (D-DeSoto).

Sponsor: Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston)

Caption: Relating to conditions of community supervision prohibiting contact with certain persons.

Abbott’s statement: “House Bill 787 seeks to encourage rehabilitation of criminal defendants, but in doing so would remove judicial discretion to set certain necessary conditions of probation on a case-by-case basis.  Eliminating a judge’s ability to analyze and mandate suitable conditions for each individual case is detrimental to public safety.  I have signed House Bill 385, which also amends community-supervision conditions and procedures to encourage more robust rehabilitation and prevent recidivism, but I cannot support legislation that eliminates judicial discretion in this way.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 1193

Authors: Reps. Gene Wu (D-Houston), Toni Rose (D-Dallas), James White (R-Hillister), Jeff Leach (R-Plano), Joe Moody (D-El Paso).

Sponsor: Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston)

Caption: Relating to the jurisdiction of a juvenile court over certain persons and to the sealing and nondisclosure of certain juvenile records.

Abbott’s statement: “People who commit youthful indiscretions should have the opportunity to turn their lives around and not be burdened by a criminal record as an adult.  Texas law already allows juveniles to clear their records in appropriate circumstances.  House Bill 1193, however, would allow juveniles who were sentenced for serious violent crimes to hide their acts from society and from future employers. I have vetoed similar bills in past sessions that would have concealed serious offenses, and I must do so again here.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 1240

Author: Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)

Sponsor: Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston)

Caption: Relating to the offense of failure to company with an order from a fire marshal and the authority of certain county employees to issue citations for certain violations; changing a criminal penalty.

Abbott’s statement: “House Bill 1240 would wisely reduce an existing fire-safety penalty from a Class B to a Class C misdemeanor, and I share the goal of keeping Texans safe by increasing enforcement of the penalty.  But House Bill 1240 goes off course in granting broad and unique authority to the county commissioners courts in just a few counties, including Harris County.  Under the bill, these county commissioners courts could designate county employees who are not peace officers to issue criminal citations to citizens — a weighty duty usually reserved for the discretion of trained, accountable law-enforcement officials.  And the bill’s loose language could give the county commissioners courts a blank check to write new safety rules to be enforced criminally by these county employees. A more refined solution is needed.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 1477

Authors: Reps. Keith Bell (R-Forney), Jeff Leach (R-Plano), John Cyrier (R-Lockhart), Ramon Romero Jr. (D-Fort Worth), and Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo).

Sponsor: Rep. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)

Caption: Relating to performance and payment bonds for public work contracts on public property leased to a nongovernmental entity.

Abbott’s statement: “Whenever a government entity leases public property to a non-governmental entity, and the latter decides to enter into a contract for work performed on the property, House Bill 1477 would make the government entity responsible for the prime contractor obtaining a bond to protect subcontractors.  If no bond is obtained and the prime contractor does not pay subcontractors, the government entity would be responsible for payment because the bill waives the government entity’s sovereign immunity in this situation.  Because the government entity may not know who the prime contractor is — or even that there is a contract between the non-governmental entity and a prime contractor — House Bill 1477 could leave the government entity, and taxpayers, on the hook for damages not caused by the government entity.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 1544

Authors: Reps. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) and Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio).

Sponsor: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Caption: Relating to the eligibility of land to continue to be appraised for ad valorem tax purposes as qualified open-space land if the land is temporarily used for sand mining operations; authorizing a fee.

Abbott’s statement: “House Bill 1544 would single out sand-mining operations, and only those within a specific geographic area, for preferential tax treatment. Currently, sand mining is not a qualifying use under open-space appraisal. House Bill 1544 would change that to allow property owners in two counties, if they meet certain conditions, to retain their open-space appraisal if their property is used for sand mining for one year. It would also make the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) create and enforce rules for reclamation of the sand mines.

Although the bill is meant to incentivize property owners to reclaim sand mines, it gives a property tax benefit to a very narrow set of property owners that will not be available to other similarly situated property owners around the state. It also allows property owners to retain an open-space appraisal after they chose to put their property to another use, despite existing law that allows this only if the property owner had to involuntarily cease agricultural operations — such as during a drought or to control pests or diseases. And the bill does not set clear standards for TCEQ to use in adopting reclamation rules. For these reasons, House Bill 1544 must be disapproved.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 2448

Author: Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg)

Sponsor: Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen)

Caption: Relating to the verification of the incarceration of an accused person in a criminal case for the purpose of discharging a surety’s liability on a bail bond.

Abbott’s statement: “During the 85th Legislature, I signed Senate Bill 4 into law to help secure the border.  I have fought — and continue to fight — to protect all Texans from dangerous cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers. Because the federal government has failed to act during the ongoing border crisis, Texas has deployed numerous resources to combat the dangers faced in border communities.  House Bill 2448 would go in the wrong direction, reversing a good change made by Senate Bill 4 and facilitating the release of potentially dangerous criminals from jail. That is an objective I cannot support.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 2667

Authors: John Smithee (R-Amarillo), Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Tracy O. King (D-Batesville), and Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco).

Sponsor: Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)

Caption: Relating to universal service fund assistance to high cost rural areas and the uniform charge that funds the universal service fund.

Abbott’s statement: “Coming into the 87th Legislative Session, everyone knew the Legislature needed to consider significant reforms on broadband and the Texas Universal Service Fund.  Transformational broadband reform was achieved through multiple bills that have been signed into law, which significantly expand broadband access in Texas, especially in rural areas.  Yet the only meaningful change made to the Texas Universal Service Fund was, in House Bill 2667, to expand the number of people paying fees. It would have imposed a new fee on millions of Texans.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 2803

Author: Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)

Sponsor: Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)

Caption: Relating to a commercial landlord’s or tenant’s remedies regarding certain unlawful activities in a multiunit commercial property.

Abbott’s statement: House Bill 2803 seeks to prevent human trafficking, an aim I whole-heartedly share and applaud the author and sponsor for advancing. I have fought against human trafficking throughout my service as Attorney General and Governor.  But House Bill 2803 goes about it in the wrong way, pitting tenants against other tenants and landlords, and drawing in basic licensing rules that are unrelated to trafficking. Texas law already allows a landlord to seek forcible eviction upon a reasonable belief that a tenant is engaging in prostitution or human trafficking on the premises.  Under House Bill 2803, however, one tenant could have another tenant dragged into court just by making an accusation to the landlord, of something as mundane as sloppy recordkeeping by a massage establishment. That is no basis for governmental interference with a private contract between the landlord and the finger-pointing tenant.  And the landlord is caught in the middle, practically forced to file against an allegedly offending tenant to avoid the severe, artificial consequences from inaction. The bill would be ripe for abuse by a disgruntled tenant looking for a way to break the lease or harass the neighbors.

The unforeseen negative consequences of this bill could be substantial, with no potential remedy until some future legislative session would be able to fix the flaws in the statute.  But even then, there is never any certainty that a proposed bill would pass.  The better strategy is to prepare a more narrowly tailored bill to achieve the end sought while avoiding the potential adverse consequences.

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 3135

Author: Rep. Sheryl Cole (D-Austin)

Sponsor: Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin)

Caption: Relating to the powers and duties, authority to issue bonds, and authority to impose a tax of the SH130 Municipal Management District No. 1.

Abbott’s statement: “House Bill 3135 would levy special assessments on residential properties and allow the City of Austin to subsequently annex the very improvements paid for by these property owners.  The effect of this bill would be to impose additional costs on property owners for specific improvements, only to see the City annex the improved area without bearing any of the cost. I signed property-tax reform two years ago to keep local governments from spending outside their means.  House Bill 3135 evades the intent of those reforms and is unacceptable.

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 3207

Authors: Reps. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), and Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton).

Sponsor: Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio)

Caption: Relating to preventing the loss of benefits by certain retirees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas who resume service during a declared disaster.

Abbott’s statement: “The Teacher Retirement System of Texas relies on a sophisticated set of rules to ensure that current and former teachers’ pension funds are protected, and a key component of that is an “Employment After Retirement” policy that triggers penalties if a retired school employee returns to service in violation of the rules. House Bill 3207 would dismantle that careful architecture, eliminating penalties for violations in any area subject to any disaster declaration.  The desire to help both retirees and school children is laudable, but the bill lacks the necessary safeguards.  Not every disaster merits the same response, and disaster declarations often must remain in place for an extended period of time in order to ensure the availability of federal assistance long after immediate personnel needs have been met. In order to protect the pension fund, the exception contemplated by House Bill 3207 needs to be tailored to actual needs.”  

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 4218

Author: Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland)

Sponsor: Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)

Caption: Relating to a cause of action for the bad faith washout of an overriding royalty interest in an oil and gas lease.

Abbott’s statement: “Texas prizes the freedom of parties to enter into private contracts and to have their bargains enforced.  House Bill 4218 would contravene these principles, representing a remarkable intrusion by the State into the contractual relationship between overriding royalty interest-holders and oil-and-gas lessees. The Legislature sought to address a ‘wash out’ of an interest-holder, where a lessee allows the lease to terminate — which extinguishes the royalty interest under some contracts — and then acquires a new lease on the same property. But those are contractual rights the parties bargained for, and the interest-holder could have given something up in exchange for protection from a wash out. The answer is not to trample every such contract in Texas and provide an extra-contractual cause of action against the lessee, paired with an award of fees for the lawyers who will surely seek out these claims. Instead of enriching lawyers through costly litigation on the back end, as House Bill 4218 would do, Texas law should encourage the parties to negotiate wash out protections in advance.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

House Bill 4374

Author: Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart)

Sponsor: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Caption: Relating to the use of executory contracts for the purchase of land to be used as a residence in certain counties.

Abbott’s statement: “House Bill 4374 would pick out a few counties and give their county commissioners courts the powers to legislate what land will be deemed used or to be used as a residence and to ban certain contracts for residential property. Purchasers of real property are no less sophisticated in one county than in another. Property law should be uniform across the state to avoid the inconsistency and confusion that comes with patchwork regulations. If additional clarity is needed on what land will be deemed used or to be used as a residence, the Legislature should enact a clarification, not delegate its job to the commissioners of some counties.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 36

Author: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Sponsor: Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie)

Caption: Relating to creation of a higher education task force focused on mental health services and the offense of hazing.

Abbott’s statement: “Hazing on campus is a serious problem that deserves serious attention, which is why I signed Senate Bill 38 into law last session. This session’s Senate Bill 36 was a worthy effort to further clarify the anti-hazing statute, until the House sponsor added an unnecessary provision that would simply grow government by creating yet another new task force. It is important to ensure that students receive mental-health services, and Texas’s existing agencies and institutions can already study the issues that would be addressed by this vast new bureaucratic entity. Unfortunately, the Senate author’s good idea to clean up a statute has been undercut by the House sponsor.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 237

Authors: Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas).

Sponsors: Reps. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio) and Jake Ellzey (R-Midlothian).

Caption: Relating to the issuance of a citation for a criminal trespass offense punishable as a Class B misdemeanor.

Abbott’s statement: “Senate Bill 237 would add criminal trespass to the list of offenses for which law enforcement can ‘cite and release’ instead of arrest an intruder. I appreciate the good intentions of the bill’s author and supporters, but it would allow (and tempt) agencies to categorically mandate cite-and-release for this crime, taking away an important tool for officers to keep Texans safe. It would have a particularly troubling impact in the City of Austin, where local voters recently condemned the City’s self-inflicted homelessness crisis, because businesses and homeowners count on criminal-trespass arrests to protect themselves and their guests from homeless people who refuse to leave their property. It would also contravene the State’s goal of maintaining law and order in communities along the border.

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 281

Author: Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen)

Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville)

Caption: Relating to the use of hypnotically induced statements in a criminal trial.

Abbott’s statement: “The author of Senate Bill 281 is to be commended for aiming to bring accountability to the criminal justice system by addressing the use of investigative hypnosis. But the House sponsor’s late amendment to the bill would dramatically expand its scope in an unacceptable way. The sponsor added language so that for any person who has undergone investigative hypnosis, all statements that person makes ‘after’ the hypnosis — even ones made long ‘after’ the hypnosis session and unrelated to that session — are barred from being admitted into evidence in any criminal trial.  The House sponsor’s amendment would grant lifetime immunity, for everyone who undergoes this type of hypnosis, from having any subsequent statements used in a criminal trial.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 474

Author: Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville)

Sponsors: Reps. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio), Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), Lynn Stucky (R-Denton), and Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-El Paso).

Caption: Relating to the unlawful restraint of a dog; creating a criminal offense.

Abbott’s statement: “Texans love their dogs, so it is no surprise that our statutes already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty. Yet Senate Bill 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 1109

Author: Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)

Sponsor: Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas)

Caption: Relating to requiring public schools to provide instruction and materials and adopt policies relating to the prevention of child abuse, family violence, and dating violence.

Abbott’s statement: “Senate Bill 1109 would require every school district to provide instruction to middle school and high school students regarding the prevention of child abuse, family violence, and dating violence. These are important subjects and I respect the Senate author’s good intentions, but the bill fails to recognize the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction. I have vetoed similar legislation before on this ground, because we must safeguard parental rights regarding this type of instruction.  I look forward to working with the Legislature on a narrower approach.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 1458

Author: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Sponsor: Rep. Victoria Neave (D-Dallas)

Caption: Relating to standardized forms and materials for the issuance of protective orders, magistrate’s orders for emergency protection, and temporary ex parte orders.

Abbott’s statement: “Senate Bill 1458’s goal of having model forms for protective orders, orders for emergency protection, and temporary ex parte orders is a sound one, but this is already allowed. The Office of Court Administration can, and is encouraged to, create model forms to help achieve the commendable goals behind Senate Bill 1458. But the bill would go further and impose categorical mandates that courts use standardized forms, without addressing what happens if a court deviates from the prescribed form and without allowing flexibility for unique cases. I vetoed similar legislation last session because, without appropriate safeguards, mandating the use of standardized forms in criminal cases sets a trap for courts whose orders may be challenged as void for deviating from the form and creates loopholes for opportunistic litigants to pursue needless challenges. I appreciate the good intentions of the bill author and sponsor in aiming to protect the victims of horrible crimes like family violence and sexual assault, but the mandatory use of standardized forms can inadvertently cause more problems that may detract from the effort to help victims.” 

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 1772

Author: Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Sponsors: Reps. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) and John Cyrier (R-Lockhart).

Caption: Relating to the establishment of the Texas Pollinator-Smart program for solar energy sites.

Abbott’s statement: “Senate Bill 1772 offered a program that was totally voluntary. Voluntary laws are not needed to drive public behavior.”

A press release announcing Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

Article X of Senate Bill 1

Author: Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood)

Caption: General Appropriations Bill

Abbott’s statement: “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.”

The formal proclamation of Abbott’s veto can be found at this link.

This article has been updated throughout.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the governor is only able to veto bills that received less than a two-thirds vote in each chamber. The governor may veto any bill under the Texas Constitution.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.