Abbott’s 1st veto nixes ceremonial mental health resolution

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott applauds Gov. Rick Perry during a farewell speech to a joint session of the Texas Legislature, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has issued his first veto, but his spokesperson made it clear it was about the ‘scope’ not a ‘disagreement’ with a ceremonial resolution saluting mental health professionals statewide.

A House Concurrent Resolution by Nacogdoches Republican Rep. Travis Clardy commended health professionals as part of National Health Month, observed each May.

When the resolution was proposed, that’s all it did. However, at some point in the process language was added on requiring state health providers to use billing codes for payment or reimbursement in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the International Classification of Diseases, or “any other appropriately recognized diagnostic classification.”

To Abbott, that change is a change to state law.

The Governor said in a veto proclamation Monday that the Texas Constitution “requires all laws to be passed as bills” and “new law cannot be made by concurrent resolution.”

He said the resolution “purports to direct the actions of state agencies in the manner of a law,” thus going “beyond the proper bounds of a concurrent resolution.”

Amelia Chasse, Gov. Abbott’s press secretary, told KXAN “the Governor’s veto is based purely on the scope of the [concurrent resolution] does not reflect the Governor’s disagreement with anything in the [concurrent resolution].”

Almost in tandem with his veto, Governor Abbott also proclaimed May as Mental Health Month.

“At this time, I encourage my fellow Texans to learn more about mental health and to take steps to protect their health and well-being,” said Abbott in his proclamation Monday. “Together, we can ensure a brighter future for all Texans.”

Abbott took office in January. As governor, he has 10 days to sign or veto laws approved by the Legislature — though any he takes no action on become law automatically.

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