With the veto period of the legislative session drawing to a close, people are beginning to react to what Gov. Rick Perry signed into law and what bills he killed. The Dallas Morning News wrote an editorial on the topic today. In it, they discuss vetoes of Pre-K funding (HB 130), Child Protective Services (SB 1440) and Television recycling (HB 821). Of these, the Pre-K funding veto seems to be getting the most attention.
Perry’s veto of full day Pre-K funding means poorer quality Pre-K for Texas students. Perry claims he could reach more students without the bill. The editorial counters:
Here’s the problem: That money will come with none of the standards the pre-K bill contained, standards that would have incorporated the latest research into what makes for a quality pre-K education. What’s more, the measure would have given districts more options, like the ability to offer classes with smaller teacher-student ratios.
The veto is a major missed opportunity for early-childhood education. Right now, Texas doesn’t require districts to offer full-day pre-K, although many, including Dallas’, do. Districts that don’t offer full-day pre-K classes cite a lack of funds as the prime reason.
Another veto that caught many off guard was the so-called “safe passing” bill (SB 488) that guaranteed rights to “vulnerable road users.” These include pedestrians, highway construction and maintenance workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists or passengers, horseback riders, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
The veto surprised many since Perry, who broke his collar bone recently while mountain biking, is an avid cyclist. The Houston Chronicle story continues:
The veto of the cycling measure, which would have required motorists to give cyclists and others at least 3 feet of clearance when passing on most highways, drew a strong reaction from some cyclists.
“We are stunned because he’s our guy, and we feel disappointed, even betrayed by our guy,” said Robin Stallings, executive director of BikeTexas, the educational arm of the Texas Bicycle Coalition.
As more time passes and the dust of the legislative session finally settles, Texans will be able to take a closer look at which bills made it, which died and which were killed. The results will surely have a big impact on our state’s future.