June 19, 2009
Senator Kirk Watson released the following statement regarding Governor Perry’s decision to veto S.B. 1440:
S.B. 1440 would have improved our ability to protect Texas’ most vulnerable citizens and enabled us to fulfill our moral obligation to help those who cannot help themselves. It is troubling and wrong that Governor Perry has chosen to block it from becoming law.
This bill includes an amendment, originally filed as S.B. 1064, that would have secured the rights of parents and families and ensured strong, uniform judicial oversight of a process that is at times tragically necessary to keep our children safe. The bills were joined only because S.B. 1064 was threatened by delays in the House of Representatives.
Let’s be clear – both pieces of legislation were heard in the House and Senate and approved unanimously at every step. Both the bill and the amendment had the support of a remarkable spectrum of children’s advocates, state agency officials, and legislators from both parties.
S.B. 1440 would not have granted Child Protective Services greater authority, would not have eliminated parental rights, and the legislation would not have removed due process or ignored the United States Constitution; indeed, it would have ensured Texas law conformed to it.
Opposition to this bill is based on misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Unfortunately, Governor Perry listened to bad advice, ignored sound, just policy and chose to veto a bill that would have helped protect the children of Texas from abuse and neglect.