Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Governor Abbott Vetoes SB 359

Tuesday, June 02, 2015  •  Austin, Texas  •  Veto Statement
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Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 359 as passed by the Eighty-Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:

The Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution limit the state's authority to deprive a person of liberty. Under our constitutional tradition, the power to arrest and forcibly hold a person against his or her will is generally reserved for officers of the law acting in the name of the people of Texas. By bestowing that grave authority on private parties who lack the training of peace officers and are not bound by the same oath to protect and serve the public, SB 359 raises serious constitutional concerns and would lay the groundwork for further erosion of constitutional liberties.

Medical facilities have options at their disposal to protect mentally ill patients and the public. Many hospitals already keep a peace officer on site at all times. For smaller facilities, law enforcement are always just a phone call and a few minutes away. Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public. But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution.

Since the Eighty-Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.

 

GREG ABBOTT
Governor

View a PDF of the veto here