AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed a used tire bill that passed the state legislature in May, saying he opposed creating what would amount to a criminal penalty on people buying tires.
Texas House Bill 2774 was based on the draft legislation long advocated by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). It would have levied fines of $100 to $500 for each sale for road use of a used tire defined by the statute as unsafe.
These definitions included:
- A tread depth of less than 1/16th inch;
- A localized bald spot that exposes the tire ply or cord;
- Regrooving below the original groove depth;
- Evidence of a temporary repair;
- Bumps, bulges or knots indicating tread separation; or
- Worn tread indicators that contact the road in any two adjacent major grooves in the center of the tire.
In his June 15 veto message, Gov. Abbott said he opposed the bill's creation of a new crime.
“Texas does not need to impose new criminal penalties on people who put tires on cars,” he said.
“For the past two sessions, the legislature has passed several laws aimed at limiting the reach of criminal penalties and reducing the burden of criminal records,” he wrote. “This bill goes in the opposite direction. Nobody wants bad tires on the road, but creating a new crime is not the answer to every problem.”
Texas Rep. Armando L. Walle, D-Houston, condemned the governor's veto in a June 15 statement.
“Two years of diligent work by a stakeholder group consisting of everyone who handles tires from cradle to grave to craft a balanced bill were cast aside in a veto statement that suggested the governor did not understand or refused to understand tire disposal and how it is currently regulated,” Mr. Walle said.
The USTMA also expressed disappointment at the veto, but not despair.
“We were very encouraged by the strong support both the Texas House and Senate demonstrated for this pro-consumer safety legislation,” said Dan Zielinski, USTMA senior vice president, public affairs.
Because the Texas legislature has adjourned, a veto override is not possible, according to Mr. Zielinski. The Texas legislature meets only every two years, so the USTMA will consider in the meantime whether to reintroduce the bill in Texas or concentrate on other states, he said.
Used tire bills are still under consideration in Ohio and New Jersey. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill April 26 that officially defined waste tires to prevent their being sold as used tires.