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Trojan Horse Resolution Draws Abbott's First Veto

In his first veto, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday killed a seemingly routine resolution honoring mental health workers after finding a surprise hiding in the text.

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke during the grand opening of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's new building on April 21, 2015.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued his first veto on Monday — but it wasn't of a bill.

Abbott vetoed House Concurrent Resolution 84, which, as originally filed, seemed like a routine commendation for the state's mental health professionals on the occasion of National Mental Health Month.

As amended in the House Human Services Committee, however, the resolution was changed to instruct state agencies licensing mental health professionals that they use the classifications and billing codes of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and other "appropriately recognized" classification systems. 

That was the sticking point for Abbott. In a memorandum to the House, Abbott said telling state agencies what to do goes beyond the bounds of a resolution by attempting to create a law, which only a bill can do.

"Because House Concurrent Resolution No. 84 purports to direct the actions of state agencies in the manner of a law, it goes beyond the proper bounds of a concurrent resolution," Abbott said in his letter.

State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, who authored the resolution, addressed the House on Monday shortly after the veto was announced.

"I want to thank the governor for his attention," Clardy said. "I respect his decision. I trust this will be his only veto on one of my bills this session, and I look forward to his signature on many more of my bills."

Also on Monday, Abbott proclaimed May "Mental Health Month."

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