A legislative move to restore state funding for the ethics-enforcing Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office died Friday afternoon.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said no vote is expected on House Concurrent Resolution 6 — the attempt by state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, to override Gov. Rick Perry’s veto of more than $7 million in state funding to the unit over two years.
Turner insisted that he had the votes for the committee to approve the resolution, but he said members were eager to leave Austin on Friday and did not want to stick around and vote.
He told reporters he won’t ask for a vote before the special legislative session ends Tuesday.
See here, here, and here for the background. I didn’t really think this was possible – Rep. Turner may have had the tacit support of Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts and Speaker Straus, but getting to a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override seems like a pretty big stretch. The legality of this unprecedented move – normally, veto overrides happen in the same session as the vetoes themselves – was not established, either. It would have been a fascinating exercise in government theory to pursue it, but it’s hardly a surprise that it went nowhere. Attention now turns back to Travis County Commissioners Court, which will likely consider the matter of filling in the funding gap in the next couple of weeks, and to the TPJ complaint against Rick Perry for the veto threat, for which I have not seen any updates as yet.