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Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Seeks Clarity Regarding Questions Concerning Governor’s Line-Item Veto Authority

(AUSTIN) — State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today he is seeking an opinion from the Texas Office of the Attorney General on the effect of certain parts of the Governor's veto proclamation for House Bill No. 1, the General Appropriations Act.

Section 14, Article IV of the Texas Constitution contains the scope of the Governor's veto authority:

If any bill presented to the Governor contains several items of appropriation he may object to one or more of such items, and approve the other portion of the bill. In such case he shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a statement of the items to which he objects, and no item so objected to shall take effect.

After the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session, Texas Governor Greg Abbott used this authority to strike nearly $300 million in appropriations from the state's 2016-2017 budget. The Legislative Budget Board's staff subsequently raised questions as to whether the vetoes exceeded the governor's authority under the Texas Constitution. In response, the Office of the Governor provided a detailed brief outlining the constitutionality of the veto proclamation.

Hegar issued the following statement:

"I am lapsing the funds for all items objected to by the Governor and will treat the items in question as vetoed. However, if advised otherwise, those appropriations can be made available immediately. As the Chief Financial officer of the state of Texas, it is my responsibility to account for items of appropriation. There are complex questions related to the Governor's vetoes, so I am seeking clarity and requesting guidance from the Attorney General's Office. This is a constitutional issue that goes to the heart of separation of powers within Texas government. I have a fiduciary duty to Texas taxpayers to ensure their hard earned dollars are spent in a manner that is consistent with the constitution of the state of Texas."