As promised, District 73 state Rep. Kyle Biedermann submitted legislation calling for a statewide election on whether Texas should secede from the United States.
Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, filed House Bill 1359, officially titled the Texas Independence Referendum Act, on Tuesday.
If approved by the 87th Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, voters could decide to assign a joint legislative committee to draft plans for Texas independence.
In legislative lingo, the bill proposes “a referendum to the people of the State of Texas on the question of whether this state should leave the United States of America and establish (its own) independence.”
“This Act simply lets Texans vote,” Biedermann said. “This decision is too big to be monopolized solely by the power brokers in our Capitol. We need to let Texans’ voices be heard!”
In December, Biedermann asked supporters to sign a “Texit” petition supporting independence, and pledged to let voters decide.
“As is the right of any people to dissolve the political bonds that bind them to another, it is time to allow the people of Texas to choose if we will once again assert the right of independence,” Biedermann stated in his preamble to the petition, which totaled more than 9,500 supporters through Wednesday.
Biedermann said that he didn’t see the issue as a left or right one.
“Voters of all political persuasions in Texas can agree on one thing, Washington D.C. is and has been broken,” he said. “Our federal government continuously fails our working families, seniors, taxpayers, veterans and small business owners. For decades, the promises of America and our individual liberties have been eroding.”
He said Texans should have the right to decide their own future, which has a long history.
Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836 and joined the Union in 1845. It seceded in March 1861 and joined the Confederacy for the Civil War. It rejoined the Union in the wake of the war after the Confederate States dissolved in 1865 but it took until 1870 before the state was readmitted to the Union.
The Texas Tribune reported U.S. Supreme Court precedents on the issue of secession have been clear, with an 1869 case, Texas v. White, holding that states could not unilaterally secede from the union.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, asked if there is a legal basis for secession in 2006, responded: “The answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”
Last week, Biedermann filed HB 1238, which he said would preserve “the right of every Texan who can legally own a firearm to be able to carry it to protect themselves.”
The bill proposes “governing the carrying of a firearm by a person who is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm and to other provisions related to the carrying, possessing, transporting, or storing of a firearm.”
Biedermann said self-defense should be a “fundamental right” and free from relying on the government to access that right. He said the state capital in Austin is experiencing increased crimes, especially what one U.S. attorney termed “skyrocketing” violent crimes.
“With the current political climate, personal safety is a serious concern for Texans,” Biedermann said. “Talks to defund the police and rioting around the country all point to the need for Texans to have every ability to protect themselves and their families.
“Forcing our citizens to ask the government for permission to exercise this right reduces its status to a privilege, and then making us pay for it adds insult to injury.”
Biedermann said more than 70 of the state’s 254 counties have declared themselves as “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.” He said Abbott recently announced the need for Texas to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State, adding “HB 1238 falls right in line with that goal for Texas.”
Biedermann said the measure has the support of many Second Amendment and gun rights organizations such as the Gun Owners of America and National Association for Gun Rights.
He expects lawmakers who backed Constitutional Carry efforts in previous legislative sessions to back the bill, which he said has “tremendous support.”
Campbell co-sponsoring 3 bills
District 25 state Sen. Donna Campbell has yet to get an authored bill on the docket but as of Wednesday she was listed in filings of three bills.
Senate Bill 207, filed in November, relates to the recovery of medical or health care expenses through civil actions. The latter two were filed Jan. 14 and Jan. 22.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 condemns China’s practice of involuntary organ harvesting. SB 391 relates to the prohibition of abortion, with offenders facing civil actions and criminal penalties.
“I am proud to jointly author two pieces of legislation committed to protecting life in Texas and around the world,” said Campbell, R-New Braunfels. “Our values and our faith make us who we are as a people — as Texans,” she said. “We must stand up for our values of protecting life from conception to natural death.”
Campbell, a medical doctor, said “the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party and the vile practice of forcibly removing human organs for transplant are an appalling disregard of basic human rights and human life.
“As a woman of faith, I feel it is of the utmost importance that we continue our fight to protect the unborn here in Texas. The Human Life Protection Act, if passed, would mark a significant moment in our state’s commitment to protecting life.”
Nicholas Eastwood, her communications director, said Campbell is waiting with other legislators to see bills cleared with legislative committees. COVID-19 protocols have slowed processing — House members had filed 1,749 bills and senators filed 501 bills through Wednesday.
The House and Senate recessed Tuesday but continue to hold public hearings on impending legislation. Both bodies will resume full sessions on Feb. 9.