Texas Supreme Court denies request to overturn Abbott veto of legislative funding


The Texas Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from Texas state House Democrats to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott's veto on funding for the state's legislature.

Filed in June, the petition argued that Abbott's veto was unconstitutional and violated the separation of powers between branches of government.

Abbott vetoed the legislature's funding after a group of state Democrats left Texas to prevent the passage of voting legislation that critics have said would limit voter access.

“Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session," Abbott said at the time.

In its ruling, the Texas Supreme Court pointed to the meetings and events that Texas Democrats have held to push for federal voting legislation, as well as the insistence of Texas Republicans on passing other legislative priorities, before addressing the funding for the state's legislature.

"These public statements and events make it clear that the subject of the petition for writ of mandamus — the lack of Article X funding for the Legislature — continues to exist not because of a dispute between the Governor and the Legislature, nor even because of one between the Governor and a minority of House members. Rather, the principal dispute is among the members of the Legislature," the court wrote.

The court found that the arguments presented by Democrats that Abbott would have vetoed the budget even if they were present to be "entirely speculative."

"And if a complete loss of legislative funding were imminent, one would expect other legislators besides members of the House Democratic Caucus to express concern," the court added. "Neither the Legislature’s leadership nor any of its Republican members have joined in [Democrats'] complaint that the Governor is violating the separation of powers."

The Texas Supreme Court stated that it was not the place of the judicial branch to resolve arguments between the executive and legislative branches. It also argued that the Texas House Democrats had another opportunity to vote on legislative funding during the second special session that Abbott called, which commenced last week.

"In the meantime, the Governor and legislative leaders have announced that funding for continued legislative operations has been made available through the end of September. For these reasons, the petition for writ of mandamus is denied," the court wrote.

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