Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday vetoed a portion of the state budget that funds the legislature, following a threat he made last month after Democratic lawmakers blocked the vote on an electoral bill backed by the GOP.
Abbott vetoed the funding weeks after several Texas House Democrats left the floor and broke quorum ahead of a scheduled vote on Senate Bill 7. As a result, lawmakers were unable to vote on the electoral bill until the end of the legislative session.
“Texans don’t shy away from a legislative fight, and they don’t shy away from unfinished business,” Abbott said in a statement. “Funding should not be given to those who left their jobs prematurely, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session. I therefore oppose and disapprove of these credits. “
Texas Democrats tore Abbott apart when he first said he planned to veto funding, pointing out that the budget section also funds core staff such as office workers and maintenance.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner told the Texas Tribune the party “is exploring all options, including immediate legal options, to retaliate” against Abbott’s decision.
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“Texas has a governor, not a dictator,” Turner said in a statement. “The tyrannical veto of legislative power is the latest indication that [Abbott] is simply out of control. “
Abbott has previously indicated he will convene a special session of the state legislature to vote on the electoral bill, which he called an “emergency item to pass.” Democrats have widely opposed the legislation.
If enacted, the bill would make sweeping changes to state elections by expanding the authority of pro-poll observers, banning 24-hour and drive-by voting, and increasing penalties for election workers. that violate protocols.