Democrats sue over defunding of legislative branch
House Democrats filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court on Friday, seeking to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott’s veto of funding for the legislative branch.
As the Austin American-Statesman and other media outlets reported, House Democrats were joined by the AFL-CIO and caucuses representing Black and Latino lawmakers in asking the court to determine the governor’s actions were unconstitutional.
Abbott used his line-item veto power to abolish funding for the legislative branch in the next biennial budget, which takes effect Sept. 1. He was angered by the last-minute walkout of House Democrats to stop consideration of various voting law changes pushed by the governor and Republican legislators.
“Abbott’s veto is an abuse of power, an act of legislative coercion and a threat to democracy, the result of which is clear and immediate harm to the people of Texas,” said Chris Turner, D–Grand Prairie, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.
“The Legislature is a co-equal branch of government and the separation of powers is enshrined in our state constitution,” Turner said. “The governor doesn’t get to simply cancel another branch of government when he doesn’t get his way.”
Abbott’s veto struck $410.2 million allocated for the Legislature and numerous agencies that provide support to lawmakers.
Besides state lawmakers, who make $600 a month, Turner said the veto could affect up to 2,000 employees of the Texas Senate and House and those agencies.
Special session set
for July 8
Abbott has called for a special session beginning July 8, his office announced last week. He said in a press release that the items to be addressed “will be announced prior to the convening of the special session.”
Abbott had said previously that he would ask legislators to work on two priority election bills that died when