I found the veto message on the bill utterly disingenuous:
Offhand I have two main criticisms of the Governor's logic: First, what constitutes a technical revocation isn't named in statute but is well established in practice, because Second those definitions do exist, only by RULE instead of by statute. Ditto for the "funding penalty" described - those details were rightly delegated to agency rulemaking, which is both appropriate and common practice, but the Governor's veto message pretends the bill would create some functional problem because it lacked that definition. It didn't.
House Bill No. 3200 would revise the funding formula that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice uses to fund community supervision and correction (probation) departments. This bill is problematic because the revised funding formula provides penalties for each felony defendant whose community supervision is revoked due to a "technical violation." Yet, there is no statutory definition of what constitutes a "technical violation." Just as important, there is no guidance in the bill as to how much of a funding penalty should be applied for these technical violations. Thus, we risk creating a system that has perverse financial incentives which undermine the purpose of probation itself.I encourage both the Legislature and the Board of Criminal Justice to continue looking at ways we can improve the probation funding formula.
I'll bet local probation department directors will be grumpy - this veto potentially creates a management nightmare for them. As a Grits commenter noted, the Governor has chosen to:
let most of the new probation laws go into effect but he has vetoed the all-important funding revision that went along with them. That means that the CSCDs will be losing many probationers to "early release" without providing anything to make up for the funding they will lose as a result of those releases. Expect cutbacks in existing and valuable CSCD programs to offset those losses.Sadly, I think that prediction quite likely to come true. What was the Governor thinking? This insensible veto creates headaches for local probation departments and judges and undermines other reform legislation aimed at reducing probation revocations to prison. For the second session in a row the Governor's vetoes put probation departments in a bind, in this case creating incentives for early release without altering the funding formula to make sure it doesn't bankrupt the system.
There's no ideological rhyme or reason for this decision. It's not a liberal or conservative thing to do. It's just mismanagement, plain and simple.