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Abbott Exercises His Veto Powers

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Sunday marked the last day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott could consider bills passed by the state Legislature during the regular 87th Legislative Session.

In total, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 20 bills. He also signed 1,034 bills and allowed 105 bills to pass into law without his signature.

Several of the bills Abbott vetoed were notable.

House Speaker Dade Phelan’s Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

In April, House Speaker Dade Phelan announced his legislative priorities related to criminal justice reform and named the overall package of reforms “Smarter Justice, Safer Texas.”

Abbott vetoed two of those bills.

A bill by State Rep. Joe Moody (D–El Paso), who is also the Texas House Speaker Pro Tempore, was vetoed. The bill would have changed the parole eligibility of certain juvenile criminal offenders. In his veto proclamation, Abbott commended the author of the bill for his efforts but cited a conflict in the bill language with jury instructions required in an existing statute that would “result in confusion and needless, disruptive litigation.”

Another bill related to Phelan’s criminal justice reform priorities that was vetoed was authored by State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa (D–McAllen). This bill would have precluded the use of hypnotically induced statements in a criminal trial. Abbott cited the last-minute addition of an amendment by the House sponsor, State Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D–Brownsville), as the reasoning for his veto:

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

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