Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 219 as passed by the Eighty-Third Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:
SB 219 contains several important changes to the state's ethics laws, especially those relating to the sworn complaint process. However, these positive changes are outweighed by several provisions added late in the legislative process without an open and honest discussion.
The last-minute addition of a resign-to-run requirement for members of the Railroad Commission would change the structure of a constitutional agency without the consent of Texas voters. Any effort to amend a constitutional office should go to a vote of the people.
This bill would also strip a journalist's testimonial privilege if the journalist has made direct political expenditures, or is affiliated with entities that make such expenditures.
SB 219 also allows the Ethics Commission to set an annual document filing fee for candidates and groups who file campaign finance reports. Candidates should not be charged for participating in a process intended to be transparent, to pay for a state agency. The legislature should continue to set the fee to run for office in a transparent and open way, rather than leave that to a state agency.
The Legislature had an opportunity, through the Sunset review process, to make needed changes to our campaign finance, lobby and financial disclosure laws - changes that are needed to modernize laws while still protecting our rights and providing for transparency. I urge the Legislature to look closely at our ethics laws during the interim in an open, deliberative and transparent way, so that all voices are heard and all proposals are thoroughly discussed.
Since the Eighty-Third Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this 14th day of June, 2013.
Governor of Texas