Texas Governor Greg Abbott vetoed 51 bills in one day, many of which he viewed as well-intentioned but adding excessive bureaucracy.
The governor took a ‘limited government’ stance on several of the bills which were passed by his fellow Republicans in the state legislature.
And, interestingly, he detailed the reasoning behind many of his vetoes even though they came right before a deadline.
One bill, Texas House Bill (HB) 448, would have required children under two to to ride in rear-facing car seats.
“House Bill 448 is an unnecessary invasion of parental rights and an unfortunate example of over-criminalization,” Abbott wrote. “Texas already compels drivers to use a car seat for a child under eight years of age.”
“House Bill 448 would get even more prescriptive, dictating which way the car seat must be facing for a child under two years of age. It is not necessary to micromanage the parenting process to such a great extent, much less to criminalize different parenting decisions by Texans.”
Abbott, who served as the Texas Attorney General for 13 years, has a history of challenging bills he believes are too broadly written and could fuel unintended consequences.
For instance, in his veto of HB 3490, which would’ve criminalized the use social media to harass and torment someone, Abbott believed the bill could be misinterpreted to silence “repeated criticisms of elected officials on Internet websites.”
And in his veto of HB 455, which would have forced school boards to adopt “recess policies” based on state-mandated standards, the governor said it was “bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake.”
Abbott is also known to intensively read through the bills; for example, he vetoed a resolution to make the Bowie knife the official knife of Texas because the resolution misidentified the location of Jim Bowie’s ‘Sandbar Fight’ as near Natchez, Louisiana, when the fact actually occurred near Natchez, Mississippi.
Abbott also pointed out the Kafkaesque language of HB 109 which was intended to close public schools on Memorial Day, but simultaneously allowed 859 school districts to remain open on the holiday.
“Teaching young Texans how to respectfully celebrate this holiday is critical, and we do not accomplish this goal with a law that may require them to attend school on Memorial Day,” he wrote in his veto statement.
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