Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed fifty bills that were approved by the Legislature in the just concluded measure, but he has signed several key measures, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The fifty vetoes are the most by a governor in a decade, and include several controversial bills.
The governor vetoed a bill that would have extended the life of the Texas Women's Health Advisory Commission, which was appointed to provide input into health related measures ranging from the state's high maternal death rate to how to handle abortion related issues.
In his veto message, Abbott said the Commission has 'performed its function,' but State Rep. Donna Howard D-Austin) begs to differ.
She said Abbott's veto 'shamelessly endangered the health of Texas women.'
"It is especially galling to see this veto at a time when Texas is struggling with the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world," Howard said. "Between 2010 and 2014, 600 Texas women died of pregnancy-related causes, most within the period from 6 weeks to 52 weeks after delivery. Yet Governor Abbott is eliminating a trusted, highly-qualified group of providers that could help to address this tragic situation."
Many of the bills Abbott vetoed we're vetoed on the request of the author, who felt that a companion bill that originated in the other chamber performed the action more effectively. Abbott said several of the vetoed bills were too expensive, or over-extended bureaucratic power, or are already being performed by another state agency.
Abbott signed the Sandra Bland Act, which was passed in response to the suicide of a Chicago area woman in a Houston area jail after she had been arrested for a minor traffic violation.
The bill encourages, but does not require, officers to undergo 'de-escalation training' to stop minor encounters from leading to the screaming match that was captured on video between Bland and the Trooper who pulled her over, and it requires that all county jails have immediate access to mental health treatment.
Abbott also signed a bill that will allow faith-based adoption agencies to decline to place children into households headed by same sex couples.
Supporters say the law prevents the faith based organizations from facing lawsuits or discrimination complaints for insisting on opposite sex married couples for child placement. The law does not forbid the faith-based organizations from placing children with same sex couples, and does not affect Child Protective Services, which handles three quarters of all adoption placements.
The governor also signed a controversial bill ending what is called 'lunch shaming,' by requiring that school districts provide hot meals to children whose lunch tickets have expired. He also signed a measure which will allow driverless vehicles to be legally driven on Texas highways.