Regent related amendments in budget bill left untouched by Rick Perry


 Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed more than 20 bills Friday, but he left two amendments targeted at the UT System Board of Regents untouched. 

The amendments, part of SB 1, the state budget bill, were added by Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie. Earlier this year, Pitts accused the regents of orchestrating a witch hunt to oust UT President William Powers Jr., an accusation echoed throughout the regular session. The amendments would limit how the regents can spend money, a power the state has not regulated in much detail.

One amendment prevents regents that have not been confirmed by the Senate from using appropriated funds for travel.

Another amendment eliminates board discretion over how to use money from the Available University Fund, a special fund only available to UT and Texas A&M University's flagship institutions. Until now, the UT System board has had discretion over how to use money from the fund. The amendment restricts the UT System's use of the fund to construction, major repairs and rehabilitation, equipment, maintenance, operation, salaries and support.

Perry dished out 10 line-item vetoes in the budget bill Friday night, but Pitts' two amendments made it through unscathed — for now. The governor has until June 16 to veto legislation or let it become law without his signature.