Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed SB 346, a bill that would have greatly increased the number of organizations that would have had to make regular reports to the Texas Ethics Commission as being involved in political activities. In a statement posted on the governor’s website, Perry explained:
Freedom of association and freedom of speech are two of our most important rights enshrined in the Constitution. My fear is that SB 346 would have a chilling effect on both of those rights in our democratic political process.… At a time when our federal government is assaulting the rights of Americans by using the tools of government to squelch dissent it is unconscionable to expose more Texans to the risk of such harassment, regardless of political, organizational or party affiliation. I therefore veto SB 346.
Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, released a statement announcing the veto over the weekend. Sullivan said his organization was not the only one that would have been adversely affected by the expanded reporting requirements if the bill had been signed into law:
But make no mistake: the legislation would have injured every homeschooler, pro-life group, and tea party organization. More broadly: anyone daring to challenge the myths created by the ruling elite.
Sullivan’s statement criticized legislators whose voting records are not consistent with their political images as fiscal conservatives. Sullivan described them as people who:
Don’t like being challenged. More importantly, they don’t like sunlight being shined on legislative records running counter to the political pictures they paint of themselves back home. Rather than reform, they try to apply political or regulatory pressure on those who oppose them by speaking the truth. With SB 346, they tried to undermine the constitutional privacy protections afforded to those who donate to non-profit organizations.
The veto of SB 346 is one of the few legislative victories for coalitions of traditional conservatives, Tea Party groups, and liberty advocates in this year’s session of the Texas Legislature.