The Role Played by Texas’ Governor

Veto Power

The governor has the power to either approve or veto (Latin for "I forbid") bills passed by the Texas Legislature.

The Governor has line-item veto power, enabling the governor to veto individual components (or lines) of a bill.

The Governor of Texas’ line-item veto power applies only to spending measures, only to a bill that “contains several items of appropriation.” When a bill contains several items of appropriation, the Governor “may object to one or more of such items, and approve the other portion of the bill.” Ibid. Thus, the Governor may line-item veto one or more “items of appropriation” without vetoing the entire appropriations bill.

Time to consider

The governor must sign or veto legislation within 10 days of transmittal (excluding Sunday), or it becomes law without his/her signature. There is no “pocket veto” for the Governor of Texas.

For legislation transmitted with less than 10 days left in the session, the governor has 20 days after adjournment to act, or the legislation becomes law without being signed.

This latter provision allows a Governor to veto legislation after the Legislature has adjourned, with no opportunity for the Legislature to override a veto.

In practice, a Governor’s vetoes are rarely challenged.

Legislative override

Two-thirds of members present in both chambers must vote to override a veto. If all members are in attendance, this is 100 of the 150 members in the Texas House of Representatives and 21 of the 31 members in the Texas State Senate. Texas is one of 36 states that requires a two-thirds vote from both of its legislative chambers to override a veto.

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