Here are the criminal justice-related bills Governor Perry vetoed (links on the bill numbers go to Perry's veto statements):
Bad CPS bill goes down
SB 1440 by Watson/Madden is the bill discussed here and here that would have expanded CPS authority to seize kids for questioning without first notifying their parents or showing "good cause." (UPDATE: More from the Lone Star Times, which notes that "Perry had received 17,373 calls and letters against the measure and 455 supporting it.") However, those who fought the bill have some work to do in the interim to influence how similar legislation may look next session. In his veto statement, Perry concluded:
I am directing DFPS, through its parental advisory committee, to study the effect of the Gates decision on the ability of the department to appropriately enter a residence and, if necessary for the protection of the child, to transport the child for interviews in a neutral location. I am also directing DFPS, through its parental advisory committee, to develop and recommend statewide procedures to follow when seeking court orders to aid investigations, while protecting the rights of parents and families.No tinkering with parole mechanics
SB 1206 by Hinojosa/Edwards would have authorized TDCJ to release inmates when they'd completed conditions for parole specified by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Perry vetoed the bill because he said it usurped the authority of the BPP. However, he put the onus for getting offenders out the door more quickly back on the parole board, declaring in the veto statement:
But because I appreciate the goal of Senate Bill No. 1206 to not hold inmates longer than necessary, I am directing the Board and TDCJ to work together to ensure that offenders are not held for extended periods after successfully completing a rehabilitation program required by the Board as a condition for parole. They must set up procedures that provide for TDCJ to notify the Board of the successful completion of parole release requirements so that the Board may act to effect the release to parole.If you're that 'vulnerable,' stay the hell off the road
SB 488 by Ellis/Harper-Brown would have creaed a new category called "vulnerable road users," basically defined as everybody not in a car, and punish drivers for getting too close to them. Perry vetoed it, rightly noting that plenty of protections are already in place. (UPDATE: See the Statesman for quotes from proponents criticizing the veto.) I agree the state has a responsibility to make cycling and pedestrians safer, but IMO that's best done through investments in infrastructure and engineering, not the endless creation of new traffic offenses.
Couples Only: Pardon authority bill needed companion resolution
SB 223 by West/Thompson would have authorized the Governor to give pardons in cases involving deferred adjudication. This was vetoed not because the Governor did not want the new power, but because a required constitutional amendment that needed to accompany the legislation did not pass because of the voter ID meltdown.
Perry: Failure to snitch on barratry shouldn't be criminal
SB 3515 by Dunnam/Carona would have created a new criminal offense specific to attorneys of failure to report barratry by other lawyers. Perry vetoed the bill because "would criminally punish a lawyer who had not committed barratry for the barratry committed by another person, and would, therefore, make a lawyer not engaged in criminal conduct subject to criminal penalties because of the criminal conduct of others."
Where's the 'swap' in land swap bill?
HB 3202 by Bonnen/Jackson transferring ownership of 332 acres owned by TDCJ to Brazoria County. In a surprise move that took the bill sponsors offguard, Perry vetoed the bill "because it does not require the payment of fair market value for the land, does not exchange land for other real property and does not involve land that a local government had donated to the state for construction of a prison. In fact, House Bill No. 3202 transfers land that has been held by the state since 1918 to a county without providing any compensation to the state for the loss of the land."
No loan assistance for prison staff
HB 518 by Kolkhorst/Van de Putte would have provided student loan assistance to correctional officers attending Sam Houston State. Perry said they shouldn't be specifically targeted and instead "the state should focus on fully funding the four main programs to make financial aid available to more students." So the state's chronically 3,000 guards short-staffed but the Lege declined to increase pay to market rates and the Governor vetoed the only substantive increase to prison staff benefits? Geez! Message to TDCJ staff: "Lump it and like it."
No leeway, however modest, on sex offender registration
HB 3148 by Smith/West would have allowed those convicted of indecency with a child for an offense committed when they were under 21 in "Romeo and Juliet" type cases to petition the court to keep them off the state sex offender registry. While acknowledging that this might happen only under "very limited circumstances," that a judge would still have to sign off, and that "other provisions of the criminal code provide some protections against very young victims being re-victimized," Perry vetoed the bill anyway, declaring, " I am not willing to take that gamble with the lives of young Texans."
Early education also a veto victim
Governor Perry also vetoed the early education package discussed here on Grits among his line item budget vetoes (see the full budget proclamation [pdf]). According to the Houston Chronicle:
The governor’s veto of a $25 million pre-K expansion program startled supporters, including Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, co-author.
“I’m saddened and astonished,” he said.
Perry said $25 million appropriated for the program should be used to expand the number of students served by the existing pre-K grant program.