AUSTIN (May 19, 2013)--As the Legislature approaches its Memorial Day finish, Gov. Rick Perry’s power is increasing.
The power is tied to Perry's veto pen and his demonstrated willingness to wield it over his 12 years as governor.
Perry has vetoed more than 260 bills and used his line-item veto power over the state budget to slash billions in spending.
In 2001, Perry vetoed a bill banning execution of mentally disabled inmates.
Four years later in vetoed a $35 billion public education budget that the Legislature passed amid a legal fight over how Texas pays for schools.
Two years later he slashed more than $570 million from budget, in 2009 he vetoed expansion of full-day prekindergarten and in 2011 he vetoed a bill that would have banned texting while driving.
Perry has again emerged as a force in the last few weeks, most notably in 11th-hour budget negotiations as he pushes for nearly $2 billion in tax cuts.
He has made veiled threats of a budget veto if lawmakers tried to raise fees to pay for transportation.
One bill seen as a likely veto target requires some politically active nonprofits to disclose major donors.