Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution

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Adopted February 15, 1876:

Every bill which shall have passed both houses of the Legislature shall be presented to the governor for his approval. If he approve he shall sign it; but if he disapprove it, he shall return it, with his objections, to the house in which it originated, which house shall enter the objections at large upon its journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, with the objections, to the other house, by which likewise it shall be reconsidered; and, if approved by two-thirds of the members of that house, it shall become a law; but in such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the governor with his objections within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Legislature, by its adjournment, prevent its return; in which case it shall be a law, unless he shall file the same, with his objections, in the office of the secretary of state, and give notice thereof by public proclamation within twenty days after such adjournment. If any bill presented to the governor contains several items of appropriation he may object to one or more of such items, and approve the other portion of the bill. In such case he shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a statement of the items to which he objects, and no item so objected to shall take effect. If the Legislature be in session he shall transmit to the house in which the bill originated a copy of such statement and the items objected to shall be separately considered. If, on reconsideration, one or more of such items be approved by two-thirds of the members present of each house, the same shall be part of the law, notwithstanding the objections of the governor. If any such bill, containing several items of appropriation, not having been presented to the governor ten days (Sundays excepted) prior to adjournment, be in the hands of the governor at the time of adjournment, he shall have twenty days from such adjournment within which to file objections to any items thereof and make proclamation of the same, and such item or items shall not take effect.

Editor Comments

The veto, a legislative power, is considered one of the most important powers granted to the governor.

The Texas Attorney General, in Tex. Att'y Gen. Op. KP-48 (2015), opined that: "Regardless of whether the allocations are labeled as informational, Strategies, or riders, if they set aside funds for a specific purpose, they are 'items of appropriation.' In each of these allocations, the Legislature provides for an amount of money to be set aside for a specific purpose. These five allocations are therefore items of appropriation."

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Ex parte Perry, 483 S.W.3d 884, 900 (Tex.Crim.App. 2016) (footnotes omitted) ("Article IV, § 14 of the Texas Constitution gives the governor the authority to veto legislation. The provision places temporal limits on that authority, and it limits the governor's authority to veto only part of a bill. The provision also authorizes the Legislature to override a veto with the vote of two-thirds of the members present in each House. The Constitution does not purport to impose any restriction on the veto power based on the reason for the veto, and it does not purport to allow any other substantive limitations to be placed on the use of a veto.")

Historic Decisions

  • Jessen Associates, Inc. v. Bullock, 531 S.W.2d 593, 600 (Tex. 1975) ("There was no intent for the language of the rider to set aside funds for these projects, because such funds were appropriated elsewhere. The rider was intended merely to direct the use of those funds by giving express legislative approval to the projects specified. Consequently, the rider cannot be construed as an 'item of appropriation' as that term is used in the Constitution. The Governor, therefore, exceeded the power granted to him in the Constitution in attempting to veto the rider; and his actions therefore have no effect.")
  • Jackson v. Walker, 49 S.W.2d 693, 695 (Tex. 1932) ("It is further contended that the act in controversy was not approved by the Governor when filed by him in the office of the Secretary of State, and therefore it did not become a law. It is true that the Governor was not satisfied with the act as passed by the Legislature . . . . When we construe the language used by Governor Moody in connection with this bill, the conclusion is inevitable that what he did and said was tantamount to an approval of the act. Certainly it cannot be said that the language used by him was intended as a veto thereof. Therefore it became a valid law.")
  • Fulmore v. Lane, 140 S.W. 405, 412 (Tex. 1911) ("The only additional authority to disapproving a bill in whole is that given to object to an item or items, where a bill contains several items of appropriation. It follows conclusively that where the veto power is attempted to be exercised to object to a paragraph or portion of a bill other than an item or items, or to language qualifying an appropriation or directing the method of its uses, he exceeds the constitutional authority vested in him, and his objection to such paragraph, or portion of a bill, or language qualifying an appropriation, or directing the method of its use, becomes noneffective.")
  • Minor v. McDonald, 140 S.W. 401, 404 (Tex. 1911) ("Indeed, the greater number of days allowed for action after adjournment indicates that the framers of the Constitution of this state intended to make a provision in lieu of that exception by increasing the time for filing a veto after adjournment. It is apparent that the convention had in mind the fact that a greater number of bills might be in the hands of the Governor at the time of adjournment, and provided for that by giving more time for performing the labor of examining the bills, allowing 17 working days, instead of 10, for there could not occur more than 3 Sundays in the 20 days.")
  • Pickle v. McCall, 24 S.W. 265, 268 (Tex. 1893) ("It is not questioned that the governor had in his own mind determined to veto the item in question, and that through inadvertence . . . . The legislature was authorized to conclude, when the governor sent in his communication making objections to some items in the bill, that, in accordance with the requirements of the constitution, he had signed the bill, and appended thereto a statement of his objections to items named in it, and that the paper sent in was a copy of that statement; or, in other words, that he had approved every item in the bill not objected to in the paper sent to the legislature.")

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