Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Vetoes SB 1440

Friday, June 19, 2009  •  Veto Statement

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 1440 of the 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session, due to the following objections:

As a result of Gates v. Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Senate Bill No. 1440 would establish guidelines for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) caseworkers to follow when making entry and transport-for-interview decisions in alleged child abuse and neglect cases. The court’s decision in Gates is extremely narrow in its articulation of the standards that must be met for transporting a child to conduct an interview. The decision also creates uncertainty about how court orders allowing such transport are to be obtained by DFPS under existing law. This court-created uncertainty must be addressed. Senate Bill No. 1440, however, overreaches and may not give due consideration to the Fourth Amendment rights of a parent or guardian.

DFPS is charged with protecting the unprotected, and all parties involved benefit when procedures are clear and easily understood. Texas law should provide a clearly delineated investigative process that not only supports the rights of parents and guardians, but also provides DFPS with the proper authority and flexibility to protect the most vulnerable Texans.

I am directing DFPS, through its parental advisory committee, to study the effect of the Gates decision on the ability of the department to appropriately enter a residence and, if necessary for the protection of the child, to transport the child for interviews in a neutral location. I am also directing DFPS, through its parental advisory committee, to develop and recommend statewide procedures to follow when seeking court orders to aid investigations, while protecting the rights of parents and families.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this the 19th day of June, 2009.

RICK PERRY
Governor of Texas

ATTESTED BY:
COBY SHORTER, III

Deputy Secretary of State

For a detailed view of this bill, visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=SB1440.

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