AUSTIN, Texas — Two former speakers of the Texas House of Representatives and one former state lieutenant governor are advising the Texas Supreme Court to find Gov. Greg Abbott’s veto of legislative funding unconstitutional.
Their attorneys filed an amici curiae brief with the court on Monday saying Abbott’s attempt to veto Article X of the State’s budget is “executive overreach.” It is in support of a petition for writ of mandamus, or action by the court to force Abbott to undo his veto of Article X.
Article X funds the Texas Legislature, its staffers and legislative agencies.
The brief was filed on behalf of former speakers of the State House Joe Strauss and Pete Laney and Texas’s 40th lieutenant governor Bill Ratliff on Monday, July 5. Strauss and Ratliff are Republicans and Laney is a Democrat.
Abbott vetoed the section of the budget last month in response to Texas Democrats walking out of the chamber to block the passing of a controversial voting bill, Senate Bill 7.
“The Governor’s veto of Article X of SB1 is an attempt to intimidate members of the Legislature and circumvent democracy by vetoing the appropriations that fund operations of a separate branch of government,” the brief says. “This action should be rebuked by people of all political persuasions.”
The brief also emphasizes that the veto eliminates funding for non-partisan legislative agencies that are “critical to research, fiscal analyses and the preparation of potential new legislation.”
A group of Texas House Democrats and legislative staffers filed a petition asking the Texas Supreme Court to override Abbott's veto last month.
An amicus curiae brief is filed by individuals or organizations unrelated to a case, but who believe they can provide expertise and information of use to the court when making a decision.
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