April 2, 2023
Upcoming Bill Hearings Week of April 3
Wednesday, April 5:
SB 1721 – Paxton – Requires Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Ten Commandments donated privately to be displayed in school classrooms.
NOTE: All hearing notices are linked from name of committee.
We Need to Push To Get Hearings on Key Bills
We are sitting at day 83 out of 140 in the 88th Texas Legislature. Time to start thinking about the end game.
If we have a bill that is coming only out of the House, to have a realistic shot at it passing the House and making it to the Senate, your bill needs to heard sometime in the next three weeks. The die is cast for this week, by and large, so we only have a chance at influencing what gets heard in the two following weeks. I hope to get another blog post and email out about what bills to prioritize for that push and how to help push.
Here are looming deadlines:
Thu, Apr 20 (101st day) House – last day for committee to hear a bill and have realistic shot at passing House
Thu, Apr 27 (108th day) House – last day for a committee to report a bill and have realistic shot of passing House
Fri, May 5 (116th day) House – last day for a committee to be reported out of committee and have long-shot chance of making through Calendars to House floor
Mon, May 8 (119thday) House – last day for committees to report HBs and HJRs
Thu, May 11 (122nd day) – House – last day to consider 2d reading on HBs daily/supplemental calendar
Fri, May 12 (123rd day) – House – last day to consider 2d reading on local & consent calendar
Fri, May 19 (130thday) – House – last local & consent calendar 2nd and 3rdreadings
Sat, May 20 (131st day) – House – Last day for House committees to report SBs/SJRs
Tue, May 23 (134th day) – House – last day for House to consider SB/SJRs on daily/supplemental calendar
Wed, May 24 (135th day) – House – last day to consider 3rdreading of SBs/SJRs
-- Senate – last day for Senate to consider all bills/JRs
Fri, May 26 (137th day) – House – last day to consider Senate amendments
Sun, May 28 (139th day) – Senate – last day to concur on House amendments
Mon, May 29 (140thday) – Last day of Texas 88th Legislature
Have Run Out of Time to Report on Progress last Week.
A number of bills we support moved forward last week. Some are sill pending in committee. More to come on that later.
March 26, 2023
Upcoming Bill Hearings Week of March 27
NOTE: All hearing notices are linked from name of committee.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: House committees allow comments to be submitted online remotely and are stored online and accessible to the public with the documents stored for each hearing. To comment on the record, use the hearing notice link, go to the bottom of the notice to click on the comments link, then leave comments for your bill of choice. The comment period lasts from the time the notice is posted until public testimony is concluded at the hearing.
Use the comments process this week to oppose three bills – HB 71 – digital driver’s license; HB 3573 – stablecoin/CBDC elevation; and HB 3418 – driving mileage tax pilot. See details for each bill below.
Monday, March 27:
Senate State Affairs ESG Resistance Bills:
- SB 1060 – Hughes – Stops ESG shareholder proposals for insurance holding companies.
- SB 1446 – Hughes – Requires Texas pension managers to only invest in companies that focus on fiduciary duty and not on social, political, or ideological interests.
House Energy Resources – Refusal to Assist Officers of the Union on fed oil & gas regs:
- HB 33 – Landgraf – Prohibits Texas officials from assisting feds in implementing oil & gas regs not in Texas law.
Local Government: Attack on Office of Sheriff
- SB 1124 – King – Raises very high bar on credentials needed to be sheriff – probably ousts lots of existing sheriffs.
Tuesday, March 28:
- HB 71 – Canales – Creation of Digital Driver’s License (OPPOSE) – part of creation of digital police state.
- SB 330 – Hall – All Hazards Grid Protection Bill
Wednesday, March 29:
- HB 3573 – Lambert – (OPPOSE) Allows non-Texas banking regulators to regulate Texas money transmitter business and elevates stablecoin (which includes CBDC) to being recognized as money.
- HB 3418 – Canales – (OPPOSE) Pilot program to add mileage tax for drivers. Part of larger globalist effort in war on private transportation.
While you are supporting or approving bills in House Transportation this week, Teri Hall suggests SUPPORTING SB 446 (Final red light camera removal), SCR 2 (taxes dedicated to roads) and OPPOSING SB 1663, which allows cities more leeway to lower speed limits within their boundaries.
Note that there are hearings on a number of good bills pushing the RPT Legislative Priorities that protect kids and on Election Integrity this week. I just don’t have time to take that dive.
A Retrospective on Last Week
Probably the biggest deal this last week was the hearing on Lois Kolkhorst’s SCR 23 that declares a cartel invasion. We had a wonderful discussion on Thursday, March 23, and it looks like the bill will get a unanimous vote coming out of the Border Security Committee, which includes border Democrats Hinojosa and Blanco.
That same committee heard Senator Tan Parker’s interstate border security compact bill, SB 1403. Note that such a bill is the third part of the RPT Border Security Legislative Priority. The most interesting part of the discussion on that was resource witness testimony by a senior staffer at the Attorney General’s office. He told us that despite the Article I, Sec. 10 requirement to get Congressional approval for interstate compacts in normal times, that Supreme Court precedent has allowed them in most cases without Congressional approval. It was his opinion that this type of interstate compact will not require Congressional approval. SB 1403 does not mandate Congressional approval for the compacts formed by it.
We had three hear hearings on medical freedom and executive overreach this week.
In House Public Health on Monday, March 20, we testified for Valorie Swanson’s HB 44 to stop Medicaid and CHIP discrimination against unvaxed; Brian Harrison’s HB 81 to require informed consent for COVID-19 vax; and Dustin Burrow’s HB 1313 to create Texas study of COVID-19 vax adverse events.
In Senate State Affairs on Monday, March 20, we testified for three bills by Senator Brian Birdwell:
- SB 29 which prohibits for COVID-19 government vax mandates, mask mandates, and lockdowns of businesses and schools.
- SJR 35 which creates constitutional amendment to require the governor to call legislature into session to renew large scale renewals of declared disasters or emergencies.
- SB 1104 which enables SJR 35, including prohibiting lockdowns by emergency decree and limiting local governments from going beyond any gubernatorial directives.
The big medical freedom day was Wednesday, March 22 in Senate Health & Human Services. The hearing started at 8:30 am and we did not go home until 9:30 pm. The day was a magical, cathartic day, where LOTS of information was shared with the Senate and public by activists and luminaries. Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Richard Fleming, Dr. Gloria Gamboa, Dr. Bryan Ardis, and Jennifer Bridges, the RN fired for refusing Memorial Herman’s vax mandate provided gravitas to the hearings. Activists Jackie Schlegel, Michelle Evans, Rebecca Hardy, and I tag-teamed with each other. And then, we had a number of people testify about the harm done to them by COVID tyranny. It was a great day for medical freedom in Texas!
Here are the main bills that were heard:
- SB 1024 by Kolkhorst – probably the most important omnibus bill for medical freedom this session, authored by the Chair of Senate HHS, herself.
- SB 1583 by Hall – limiting Texas universities from conducting the Orwellian named “gain-of-function” research and requiring all who do to register with Texas.
- SB 426 by Paxton and SB 301 by Hall – a pair of complementary bills that stop discrimination against off-label use of drugs – especially hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
- SB 177 by Middleton – the COVID-19 informed consent bill that is the companion to Harrison’s HB 81.
- SB 299 by Hall – allowing patients to be treated by visiting doctors of their choice in the hospital, even if not credentialed or approved by the hospital.
- SB 265 by Perry – requiring Texas vaccine adverse event database for pandemic vaccines.
- SB 403 by Springer – the Texas COVID-19 vaccine adverse event study companion bill to Burrow’s HB 1313.
Chair Kolkhorst said at the end of the hearing that due to overlap of a number of these bills, that not every one will come out of committee. She implied that some will be merged into others before being voted out.
Rule of Law
I also testified on Thursday, March 23 in Senate State Affairs for Chair Bryan Hughes’ SB 1927 which expands the State Prosecutor Office in the judiciary to be able to independently prosecute election integrity, public integrity, human trafficking, and abortion statutes. The bill is designed to respond to a Court of Criminal Appeals opinion that stopped the AG from independently prosecuting election integrity crimes.
Texas Medical Freedom Legislative Status Report
March 19, 2023
One of the four areas covered by Texas Constitutional Enforcement this session is medical freedom and stopping future executive overreach in Texas. This is a status report on filed bills, and a preview of what is up in hearings in this area during the week of March 20.
First, there is no one sweeping bill this session that addresses these issues in either the House or the Senate this session. There exist a large number of filed bills in the space, and getting a big picture view of what is being proposed in light of our goals is challenging.
To begin, let’s talk about the strategic vision of our goals this session. I summarize our approach with an adaptation of the line delivered by Clint Eastwood playing Dirty Harry in Magnum Force: “A government’s GOT to know its limitations!”
Our ultimate goal is to limit government action in the following ways:
- Never again will a governor, county judge, or mayor think it has delegated authority to define new acts to which the police power of the state can be deployed against citizens during an emergency. Only the legislature can create law, and even the legislature cannot constitutionally create laws that violate the natural rights of Texans.
- Never again will any private or governmental actor be allowed to violate the unalienable right of a Texan to bodily autonomy when it comes to refusing vaccination.
- Never again will any level of government think it has the authority to lock us down in our homes or to shut down businesses.
- Never again will any level of government think it has the authority to mandate the wearing of masks.
- Never again will the Big Pharma/Health Care Industrial Complex suppress life-saving treatments so that they can sell more expensive "solutions" that actually do more harm than good.
We only crafted one piece of legislation in this space this time – the addition to the Texas Bill of Rights to recognize the unalienable right to decline vaccination. On everything else, we are looking at the bills filed through the lens of the principles outlined above and prioritizing them against those standards.
Note, a number of the filed bills will be heard in committee in the House and Senate this week. See section below for the bills that have been set for hearing and which are likely to be heard this week.
So, let’s analyze the bills that have been filed in that framework. Note that the bills are being assigned to two committees in each chamber – Public Health and State Affairs in the House and Health & Human Services and State Affairs in the Senate:
Bills Limiting Executive Overreach and Honoring Separation of Powers
- HB 107 Schaefer (St Affairs) – Removes separation of powers violation by eliminating the Texas Disaster Act open-ended criminal penalties to which any act can be applied by a emergency plan or by the governor, county judges, or mayors. I want to also add removal from the Texas Disaster Act of the phony “force and effect of law” designation for emergency orders or plans by the executive branch. Saying a regulation has the “force and effect of law” makes it a trans-law. It lies to say that the regulation identifies as a law enacted by the legislature when it is really a regulation.
- HB 154 Schaefer (St Affairs) – Amends the Texas Disaster Act to prohibit the governor, county judges, and mayors from mandating masks.
- HB 777 Vasut (Pub Ed) – Stops K-12 schools from mandating masks and COVID-19 vaccinations for attendance.
- SB 307 Hall (St Affairs) – Requires state departments and subdivisions to refuse to assist officers of the Union when they try to implement aspects of a declared federal public health emergency that are not authorized under Texas law.
- SB 1104 / SJR 58 Birdwell (St Affairs) / HB 2654 / HJR 121 Slawson (St Affairs) -- A constitutional amendment to require that only the legislature can extend wide-scale declared emergencies or disasters, coupled with implementing modifications to the Texas Disaster Act and Texas Emergency Act A decision not to extend a disaster by the governor becomes veto-proof and giving a legislator standing to judicially enforce the requirement to call the legislature into session for extensions of declared disasters or emergencies. The statute prohibits executive order lockdowns and subdivision orders that go beyond gubernatorial orders. It narrows exceptions for suspension of laws.
Bills Regarding Vaccination and Vaccine Mandates
Our moon-shot legislation this session is the push to add to the Texas Bill of Rights the recognition of the unalienable right to refuse vaccination. This bill partially implements what is called for in the first sentence of the very long Medical Freedom Plank 137:
We call for an addition to the Texas Bill of Rights that explicitly states that Texans have the natural, inalienable right to refuse vaccination or other medical treatment.
We have the proposed add to the Texas Bill of Rights filed in both chambers. SJR 84 by Senator Bob Hall and HJR 114 filed by Representative Steve Toth (assigned to St Affairs). The language to be added to the Texas Bill of Rights is:
An individual has the unalienable and natural right to refuse vaccination. The vaccination status of an individual may not be made a condition of employment, travel, school or other educational institution attendance, conducting business, receiving medical treatment, receiving governmental services, or any other action in this state.
There are a lot of statutes to implement the vision of stopping vaccine mandates. They vary between very targeted and limited to more comprehensive. First I will say that as a matter of principle, any legislation that narrowly focuses on COVID-19 is nice in terms of a political state and precedent, but has very little long term value. Narrowly focusing on the last war, instead of principles that can be applied immediately to the next is very short sighted. If you are going to devote energy to legislate, why not make it apply in the future instead of to the past.
Here are bills that are broad prohibitions on mandating vaccinations:
- HB 44 Swanson (Pub Health) / SB 303 Hall (HHS) – Health care providers who participate in Medicaid and the child health plan program “may not refuse to provide health care service” to enrollees based on “refusal or failure to obtain a vaccine or immunization for a particular infectious or communicable disease.” Penalty to a violating provider is disenrollment from the program.
- HB 319 Oliverson (Pub Health) – Prohibits “adverse action” against individuals receiving or engaged in education or training of physicians or health care providers due to declining a health care service “for reasons of conscience.” Conscience is broadly defined in the statute.
- HB 807 Harrison (Pub Health) – Repeals delegation of authority to Texas Department of Health and Human Services to determine the list of required vaccinations for attendance in K-12 schools, leaving only traditional statutorily required vaccinations and requiring future additions to the list to be made legislatively. Also repeals exclusion during emergencies or epidemics from school for students whose parents refuse due to conscience or religious beliefs.
- HB 3151 Schatzline (Pub Health) – Prohibits health care providers from denying or refusing to provide health care treatment based on an individual’s vaccination status. Enforced via civil action by AG with $50K penalty per violation.
- SB 298 Hall (HHS) – Requires informed consent of parent or guardian before immunization of a child. Violation if the child suffers an adverse event without parental informed consent is civil penalty via private action of not less then $5K.
- SB 302 Hall (St Affairs) – Employers liable for damages from adverse health events that result from employer vaccine requirements. Loophole for employers if have policy that allows conscience, religious, or opinion of physician exceptions to mandate.
- SB 304 Hall (St Affairs) – Comprehensive prohibition of discrimination against the unvaccinated by public accommodations, long-term care facilities, health care providers or facilities, health insurance, employers (including health care employers), labor unions, occupational licensing authorities, issuance of driver’s licenses or other IDs, K-12 schools, higher education, or governmental entities.
- SB 305 Hall (HHS) – Person administering a vaccine must provide patient written information on benefit and risks.
- SB 1025 Kolkhorst (HHS) – Hodgepodge bill that tweaks various vaccination matters. Keeps Texas Department of State Health Services involved in all childhood and K-12 immunization lists. Sets up a Texas vaccine adverse event reporting system. Updates prohibition on COVID-19 vaccine passports to prohibit passports for any vaccine.
- SB 265 Perry (HHS) – Requires reporting by physicians about experimental, investigational, and emergency use vaccine or drug-related injuries and adverse events to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Noncompliance subject to disciplinary action by Texas Medical Board.
Here are the bills I know of that are introduced as narrowly focused on COVID-19 vaccination:
- HB 81 Harrison (Pub Health) / SB 177 (HHS) Middleton – The good part of this bill is that it casts the unalienable right to refuse using the language of informed consent, which has good legal precedent to back it up. The legislative finding section of the bill is very good. The bill stops anyone from taking an adverse action or imposing a penalty of any kind for refusing a COVID-19 vaccination and imposes $5,000 or more damages against health care providers who administer such. The only problem is the sole application to COVID-19.
- HB 1015 Vasut (St Affairs) – prohibition on receipt of state COVID-19 money by businesses that require employees, customers, vendors, or contractors to get COVID-19 vaccinations.
- HB 1032 Noble (St Affairs) – prohibits discrimination against those refusing COVID-19 vaccinations by employers, schools, and a wide range of service providers.
- SB 29 Birdwell (St Affairs) – Prohibits governmental vaccine mandates, lockdowns, or mask mandates for COVID-19.
- SB 308 Hall (St Affairs) – a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination by employers, schools, and other service providers from discriminating against those who refuse COVID-19 vaccination.
- SB 426 (HHS) Paxton – Prohibits Texas bureaucracies from interfering with doctors prescribing off-label medicines to address COVID-19.
- SB 1026 Kolkhorst (St Affairs) – a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination by employers, schools, and other service providers from discriminating against those who refuse COVID-19 vaccination. Includes the Texas judiciary in its prohibitions.
Bills Relating to Practice of Medicine and Patient Rights
- HB 189 Toth (Pub Health) – Tweaks law about hospital visitation.
- SB 297 Hall (HHS) – Hospital Patients’ Rights – stops hospitals from never again prohibiting doctors from prescribing the drugs of choice to patients, restricted visitation of one person at a time, interfere with the care a doctor prescribes or with informed consent, bullying or shaming patients, or refusing requests within the capacity of the hospital of the patient or their surrogate.
- SB 299 Hall (HHS) – Hospitals must allow care by physician of choice even if physician is not a member of the hospital’s staff, but hospital not liable for damages resulting from treatment provided by the visiting physician.
- SB 301 Hall (HHS) – Texas Medical Board prohibited from disciplinary action against physicians who prescribe ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine and pharmacists are prohibited from disputing or otherwise providing medical advise on the safety of those drugs. Pharmacists are shielded from liability for dispensing the drugs.
- SB 306 Hall (HHS) – Beefs up due process for those being ordered to isolation or quarantine.
- SB 666 Hall (HHS) – Requires standing and prohibits anonymous complaints in the Texas Medical Board disciplinary process and beefs up due process in the disciplinary process.
- SB 514 Hall (HHS) – Voids/dismisses disciplinary actions by the Texas Medical Board against doctors who used their own judgment to prescribe off label drugs, refusing to wear masks, or speaking out against mask mandates. This is a COVID-19 specific bill that is needed to address the wrongs perpetrated by the establishment against heroic front-line health-care providers.
- HB 1313 Burrows (Pub Health) / SB 403 Springer (HHS) – Requires the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study “to assess the full and complete adverse reactions, including death, and effectiveness of each type of vaccine used in Texas to defend the human body against “COVID-19”” due by January 1, 2024.
Bills Set for Hearing on Monday, March 20
See details of listed bills below in the comments above.
House Public Health (Starts at 8:00 am in JHR 120):
I will testify in favor of all three, but they have different degrees of priority.
- Rep Shelby Slawson’s HB 44 is a solid prohibition of discrimination against children served by Medicaid and CHIP from being denied service due to lack of immunization.
- Brian Harrison’s HB 81 has excellent argumentation using “informed consent” language to protect the unalienable right to decline vaccination, but it fights the last war by only focusing on COVID-19.
- Dustin Burrows’ HB 1313 requires Texas to study vax injuries because we don’t trust the feds. The study is needed, but it is not nearly enough, and not a justification for not proceeding on protecting our unalienable right to refuse vaccination.
Senate State Affairs (Starts at 10:00 am in Senate Chamber)
Senator Birdwell has all three bills to be heard in this space:
- SJR 58 is the constitutional amendment to require that only the legislature can extend wide-scale declared emergencies or disasters and to make refusal of the legislature to extend a disaster veto-proof.
- SB 1104 implements SJR 58 and prohibits lockdowns and subdivision orders that go beyond gubernatorial orders. It narrows suspension of law exceptions. It does not address the open-ended criminal penalties or “force and effect of law” provisions of the Disaster Act. I also think the suspension of laws delegation on Code of Criminal Procedure is too broad.
- SB 29 prohibits governmental vaccine mandates, lockdowns, or mask mandates, but only for COVID-19.
Bills that could be heard in Senate Health and Human Services, as early as this Wednesday, March 22
The Senate HHS agenda is not yet released, but it could very well include the following on Wednesday:
Broader Vax Bills:
Senator Kolkhorst’s SB 1025, Senator Hall’s SB 303, SB 298, SB 305, SB 514, Senator Perry’s SB 265.
Addressing Flaws in the Health Care System:
Senator Hall’s SB 297, SB 299, SB 301, SB 306, SB 514, SB 666, Senator Springer’s SB 403.
Narrow COVID-19 Bills:
Senator Middleton’s SB 177, Senator Paxton’s SB 426.
Albert Einstein said that time is what keeps everything from happening at once. We are in the stage of the legislature when a whole lot of things happen at once, and we have very little time.
Texas Constitutional Enforcement
Status Report on Texas Resistance to the Great Reset
March 15, 2023
The bills are all filed in the 88th Texas Legislature, and we have already started testifying on bills related to the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. This is a report on the lay of the legislative land in Texas on resistance to ESG, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and the Great Reset.
Texas Resistance to Implementation or Use of Central Bank Digital Currency
Our flagship legislation is our attempt to get ahead of the introduction of CBDC in the U.S. by adding a recognition of our natural right to store our wealth and use the medium of exchange of mutual choice. Those bills are SJR 67 by Senator Tan Parker and companion HJR 146 by Representative Gio Capriglione, famous for his creation of the Texas Bullion Depository. Click here for background info and a downloadable one pager in PDF form. SJR 67 is assigned to the Senate Business & Commerce Committee. HJR 146 is assigned to House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services chaired by Capriglione.
Note also that Senator Parker has also filed a wonderful resolution to put Texas on record as opposed to the implementation by the Federal Reserve of a CBDC. That is SCR 25, assigned to Senate Business & Commerce. Rep Gio Capriglione has the companion HCR 88, assigned to House State Affairs.
Bad CBDC Bills
Stablecoin Elevation and Regulation
Then there are the bad CBDC bills we need to kill. The first to surface is a bill pushed by a national consortium of state bank regulators, the Conference for State Bank Supervisors. You could call the conference a bureaucracy of bureaucrats. They are pushing two companion bills which they call the Model Money Transmission Modernization Act, SB 895 by Democrat Senator Nathan Johnson and its House companion HB 3573 by Republican Rep Stan Lambert.
The bill replaces the existing money transmission statute in Texas which regulates money transmitters like Paypal and Venmo with the eye-glazing, complex “model” regulator language. There are a number of differences between the two. The most significant of which is that it elevates the terms “money” or “money value” to include stablecoin. The bill does not define stablecoin, but definitions found on the Internet say stablecoin is digital currency whose goal is to maintain parity with a sovereign currency. The best known private stablecoin that I know of is US Dollar Coin (USDC) created by a company called Circle.
A Central Bank Digital Currency is a stablecoin issued by a central bank. The Federal Reserve started a pilot CBDC program last fall.
The bill also explicitly gives the Conference for State Bank Supervisors and another national group, the Money Transmitter Regulators Association the ability to supervise and coordinate regulatory efforts in Texas. You read that right. This bill gives New York and California bureaucrats a way to get involved in going after companies doing business in Texas.
I mentioned the non-Texan running the lives of Texans problem to a staffer at the legislature, and he said, well this is comity between states. I informed him that Texans are becoming less and less inclined to allow other states the ability to run our lives.
I was the sole person testifying about SB 895 when it was heard yesterday in the Senate Business & Commerce hearing yesterday. Click this picture to see that testimony:
UCC Slap at Private Cryptocurrencies and Implicit Aid to CBDC
A few weeks ago, Glenn Beck surfaced the issue that the national organization that recommends modifications to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) in state law around the country has recommendations to update each state’s UCC to bash private crypto and implicitly pave the way for CBDC. At the time, the provisions had already passed both chambers South Dakota.
The resultant firestorm caused South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to veto the bill using a VETO brand on the bill. Governor Noem tweeted:
This bill adopts a definition of ‘money’ to specifically exclude crypto like Bitcoin. And it opens the door to the risk that the federal government could adopt a Central Bank Digital Currency. South Dakota will always stand for Economic Freedom.
When the news broke, I searched to see if we had a filed bill in Texas to that effect, and at the time we did not. But, on the next to last day of filing, Senator Angela Paxton filed a large UCC update bill including the offending language (SB 2075). Senator Tan Parker has since signed on as a joint author. The next day, the last day of bill filing, Representative Gio Capriglione filed the companion (HB 5011).
Because, as you saw above, Tan Parker and Gio Capriglione are our champions on resisting CBDC this session, I have sent them and Senator Paxton an email notifying them about the South Dakota experience and recommending stripping out the private digital currency bashing and CBDC enabling language out of those comprehensive UCC update bills, and pointing out the inconsistency of the existing language with the other efforts Parker and Capriglione are leading.
Texas Resistance to ESG
When those who want to control you have deep pockets, are relentless, and are very creative in figuring out ways to do so, you have to be as relentless and creative in your resistance.
Other than to define the ESG acronym (Environment, Social, and Governance) created and being pushed by an ever growing ecosystem of groups and companies on companies via pressures via investment entities, financing entities, and insurance firms, as well as local and federal governments, I am not going to go into the great danger that ESG presents to the livelihoods, wealth, and liberty of Texans.
This will be a survey of the filed bills that we are tracking/pushing this session. Before I dive in, I will point out that there are a number of tools available to push back on ESG in Texas statutes.
The approaches I can think of are:
- Denying companies who push ESG from doing business with Texas or its subdivisions
- Mandating that Texas employees (teachers, firefighters, municipal and county workers, law enforcement, state workers, etc.) be protected by preventing those pension systems from investing in companies pushing ESG.
- Prohibiting ESG based discrimination in Texas (with different methods of enforcement – from private cause of action to attorney general civil suits to criminal penalties.
- Add recognitions of natural rights to the Texas Bill of Rights
- Pre-empting local governments from foisting ESG notions on local businesses
I will present the bills, organized by the statutory tool deployed. Because each tool can be deployed narrowly or more broadly, see also the matrix below that classifies the bills by topic and by tool of resistance.
Denying Doing Business with Texas or its Subdivisions
Last session, Senator Charles Schwertner and Representative Gio Capriglione, both of whom are now chairs in their respective chambers) passed SB 19 that protected firearms or ammunition sellers from financial discrimination by discriminators from doing business with Texas or its subdivisions. The law created by that bill is already having a positive impact.
State Representative Steve Toth has filed HB 982 this session to apply this tool to companies that “use prohibited ESG criteria to evaluate a business decision or investment strategy.” It has been assigned to House State Affairs.
Texas Public Employee Pension Disinvestment
Last session, Senator Birdwell and then Representative (now Senator) Phil King passed SB 13 which mandates Texas pension systems to disinvest in investment firms that discriminate against oil & gas companies. This, too, is already bearing fruit.
This session, Senator Brian Hughes has filed SB 1446 to stop Texas public employee pensions from investing in companies “furthering social, political, or ideological interests.” Presumably, this bill will be assigned to Senate State Affairs, which Senator Hughes chairs.
Prohibiting ESG Discrimination
Senator Hughes has also filed SB 1683 which discriminates ESG and DEI discrimination by finance companies. This bill for which I wrote an initial draft came from the idea that Glenn Beck put forth in his Great Reset book and which is listed in RPT Plank 46 Texas Resistance to the Great Reset, needs a bit more work to insure that it applies to the complete range of finance companies, including money transmitters like Paypal, who has engaged in ESG discrimination recently. But that work is in progress. This also will likely be referred to Chair Hughes’ State Affairs.
State Rep Tom Oliverson, who chairs the House Insurance Committee, has introduced the wonderful HB 1239, which with the current (unposted) committee substitute prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage, discriminating on rates using ESG or DEI factors, or targeting disfavored industries. Senator Phil King, another anti-ESG stalwart, has filed the Senate companion (SB 833). It has been assigned to Senate Business & Commerce, on which King sits. House Insurance Chair Oliverson had a hearing on HB 1239 yesterday March 14. A representative of Texas Public Policy Foundation and I presented testimony in favor.
State Rep Matt Schaefer, the head of the Texas Freedom Caucus, has filed HB 2837 to prohibit credit card companies from “surveilling, reporting, or tracking” purchases of firearms or ammunition. It enforces via Attorney General civil suits.
State Rep Steve Toth has filed HB 645 which prohibits general ESG discrimination, but includes an exception (loophole) that allows it if the company doing the discrimination gives notice that it does so. I will only get excited about this bill if it gets rid of the loophole. If I get the chance, I intend to ask Rep Toth to amend the bill before being heard the assigned House State Affairs Committee.
State Rep Cody Harris has filed the very narrowly applied HB 709 to prohibit ESG discrimination. The bill has two major deficiencies. First it has the loophole that allows discrimination upon notice. Second, it very narrowly applies only to state chartered financial institutions who only make loans to Texas residents or businesses organized under law of the state. This bill has been assigned to the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee chaired by Gio Capriglione.
Pre-emption of Municipality ESG Implementation
Senator Brian Birdwell has introduced SB 1017 stopping municipalities from banning use of gasoline engines. This bill was heard in Senate Business & Commerce yesterday, March 14.
Here is a matrix classifying the Texas Resistance to the Great Reset bills discussed here:
We will be watching for the hearings on these bills, and I expect there will be a large turnout for them. Will try to keep this email list posted.
Texas Constitutional Enforcement
info at tomglass.org
Status Report on Border Security Efforts at the Texas Legislature
March 11, 2023
What a ride this has been this week on border security at the Texas legislature!
I said last weekend on social media that this week would determine the fait of millions. I did not get everything that those of us who care about Texas border security wanted this week, but I think what we got this week will save the lives of tens of thousands and improve the lives of millions in the future.
We got two pieces of huge news this week on border security. First, on Monday, March 6, 2023, fittingly the anniversary of another heroic day in Texas history (the fall of the Alamo), State Senator Lois Kolkhorst filed SCR 23, a legislative declaration of invasion by the cartels and “danger of irreparable harm.” By the end of the week, two freshmen State Reps, Ben Bumgarner and Mark Dorazio had filed House companions (HCR 78 and HCR 79, respectively).
Second, yesterday, the bill filing deadline, Speaker Dade Phelan announced that he is making a suite of new border security bills his priority. The most important of those bills is HB 20 by Rep Matt Schaefer.
Both approaches invoke the spirit of the second sentence of the RPT Border Security Legislative Priority.
Senator Lois Kolkhorst’s Legislative Declaration of Cartel Invasion
Senator Kolkhorst’s SCR 23 declaration does three things:
- Calls on feds to declare cartels a terrorist organization
- Finds that Texas has been invaded by foreign drug cartels and that Texans are “in danger of irreparable harm.”
- Invokes/encourages all state and local resources to use Art I, Sec 10 authority to repel the cartel invasion
Representative Matt Schaefer’s Comprehensive HB 20
The broad and deep HB 20 does the following:
- Sets up constitutional, independent action by Texas to take effective action by invoking Article I, Sec 3, Clause 3 reservation of self-defense power to the states when we are “in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay” or “unless actually invaded.” HB 20 formally declares that we are in imminent danger under that clause. Note that this will be a combined declaration by the legislature and the governor.
- Creates a Border Protection Unit that will report directly report to the governor, thereby taking pressure of the volunteer resources of the Texas National Guard and the stress on DPS when they are redeployed from protecting their communities to the border.
- Repel - Authorizes the Border Protection Unit to “deter and repel persons attempting to enter the State of Texas illegally at locations outside a port of entry,” to “return aliens to Mexico who have been observed actually crossing the Mexican border illegally, and were apprehended or detained in the immediate vicinity of the border,” and to “use force to repel, arrest, and detain known transnational cartel operatives in the border region.”
- Creates beefed up border trespass offense in the Penal Code – makes it a third degree felony and subject to $10K civil penalty each time a “person knowingly enters property of another without effective consent when knowingly entering the state of Texas from a neighboring jurisdiction.”
- Creates another constitutional way for Texas to act independently by invoking constitutionally clear state authority to protect health. HB 20 incorporates the totality of HB 1491 filed earlier by Rep Brian Harrison. It allows Texas to remove those who cross into Texas outside a port of entry as long as the feds have a vaccination mandate for anyone and “at any time which the U.S. Department of State has a travel-warning for COVID-19 for any country from which citizens have illegally entered the U.S. during the most recent year for which there is available data.”
- Creates a standing Legislative Border Safety Oversight Committee.
Why We Need this Legislation
I have been making sure that people understand why we need a declaration of imminent danger or invasion. That reason is that the US Supreme Court opinion in US v Arizona said in essence that the federal government pre-empts immigration issues. Because the federal government is failing to enforce federal immigration law in a way that subsidizes the cartel human trafficking business and in a way that is allowing all other sorts of danger to be unleashed on Texans, we are searching for other ways under the U.S. Constitution that Texas can act to independently (i.e., without legal federal interference) protect the people of Texas.
In other words, we need a way that the Constitution and precedent at the U.S. Supreme Court has said reserves power to Texas to defend its citizens from the fentanyl poisoning deaths, the sexual trafficking, the violation of property rights, and the potential terrorist attacks from our uncontrolled border.
HB 20 presents three methods that move us away from “immigration land.” First, it uses Art. I, Sec. 10, Clause 3, which is about public safety, not immigration. Second, it moves us into public health, for which the structure of the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment, and Supreme Court precedent says Texas has independent authority. And finally, it implements state law against trespass in a way that is independent of immigration. The bill does nothing about what the federal government does about immigration at our ports of entry. It ensures that the feds keep control over immigration without Texas getting involved in immigration decisions or law enforcement.
Note that we in Texas Constitutional Enforcement have been urging both repel AND removal of those who got past our repel efforts. Schaefer has recognized that the argument that we are not interfering with federal immigration enforcement is much stronger if we do not include the remove piece. Removal also gets into serious civil liberties and due process problems, including profiling of Texans that has been a major part of the objection to immigration enforcement. I am now convinced that repel-only is more defendable and will get the bulk of the job done of protecting Texans.
The Experienced, Skilled, Courageous Leadership of Matt Schaefer
Matt Schaefer became recognized last session as a powerfully effective leader for conservatives with his leadership in getting constitutional carry passed. He is applying that political capital and the skills learned to border security this session, and I think he will outdo his last session triumph this session.
Note how Rep. Schaefer has secured the favor of not only the speaker, but of the governor, in the crafting of this bill. Schaefer tweeted last week a picture of himself in his meeting with the governor. I have always advocated for making clear that Texas is the master and the feds are the servant in our federal republic. One of the reasons why I chose to get involved in the border issue this year is the clear necessity of independent action by Texas that is potentially in conflict with our lawless federal government.
But Texas elected leadership has been cautious about engaging in action which will create friction with the feds. Schaefer has crafted a bill that gets the job done in enabling Texas to protect Texans while staying as far away from the shoals of federal confrontation as possible. Note that HB 20 only declares “imminent danger,” not “actual invasion” by the cartels that exists in Senator Kolkhorst’s SCR 23. I suspect that Schaefer’s effective and firm, but as non-confrontational as possible approach is what sold the speaker and the governor. It will likely sell many Democrats as well. More and more border Democrats understand that their constituents are being devastated by the lawlessness at the border. Doing something effective that helps their constituents without exposing Texans to potential governmental harassment may win their support.
How Will the Different Approaches by the House and Senate be Reconciled?
I do not yet know how the differing approaches between the House and the Senate will play out. And I have not yet decided how to play on that. At the moment, I want both SCR 23 AND HB 20. If I had to pick between them, I would choose HB 20 because it provides an organization, a statute to get the job, in addition to a minimalist declaration.
I have been advocating a legislative declaration AND a statute requiring repel and remove. I note that the bill I had crafted with Kinney County County Attorney Brent Smith for that and shopped was also filed this week by freshman State Rep Richard Hayes (HB 4368). Rep Hayes’ staff filed the bill saying they intended to strip out the removal piece before a committee hearing. I much appreciate that leadership of Texas Freedom Caucus member Rep Hayes, but suspect that the repel piece of HB 20 will what will get the committee hearing, given its priority status by the Speaker and the fact that the leader of his caucus filed HB 20. If HB 20 is passed, we don’t need HB 4368.
If we only pass SCR 23, I think we need a repel bill like HB 4368 to complete the job. But I was told by one member of the Senate Border Security Committee that he did not want to lead on a repel bill, but would wait to see what came from the House. I suspect that he and Senator Kolkhorst had been given a heads up on Schaefer’s leadership. I noted to Lieutenant Governor Patrick’s border security staff that border security was conspicuously absent from his priority list. The response was that the lieutenant governor is working to ensure that sufficient funding goes to border security. I replied that using large amounts of money on an approach that has yet to produce results is not the path to success. We need the money, but it needs to be spent differently. But because I have reason to believe that he knew what the House was planning, I have no reason to believe that the lieutenant governor or the Senate will get in the way of the HB 20 approach once it passes out of the House and makes it to them.
And even though Rep Schaefer is for legitimate reasons taking a low-key approach on his declaration, I believe that a formal declaration is better with a comprehensive list of arguments for the decision similar to the Declaration of Independence. A declaration is the opening argument of the Texas case when we are hauled into federal court by those determined to stop our independent action without seeking permission, as sovereigns should do. When you are in court, you want every argument presented you can because you never know what will catch the judiciary’s fancy. That is why I really want in addition to HB 20 a declaration like Kolkhorst’s that gives BOTH actual invasion and imminent danger as the reasons for our action.
I did not get any takers this week for a comprehensive denial of Texas taxpayer services to illegal aliens (the first sentence of the RPT Legislative Priority). However, Freshman State Rep Ellen Troxclair has filed HB 2240 and HB 2241 which stop Texas housing assistance and legal assistance, respectively, to illegals.
Senator Bob Hall (SB 237) is working interstate compacts to supplement Texas resources in stopping the border chaos. In the House, Homeland Security & Public Services Chair Ryan Guillen has a different variant (HB 2396) and Representative David Spiller has introduced the Hall companion as HB 82.
There are several other border-related bills that I am tracking (including the ones designated as priorities by the speaker), but this piece is already way too long.
We will be watching for the hearings on these bills, and I expect there will be a large turnout for them. Will try to keep this email list posted.
Texas Constitutional Enforcement
info at tomglass.org
Status Report on Border Security Efforts at the Texas Legislature
As I write this status report on Sunday, March 5, 2023, the Texas legislative session deadline for filing of bills by end of day, Friday, March 10 looms. In past sessions, as the filing deadline approaches, legislative staffs put up signs on the office doors saying they are not taking any more bill filing requests, so every day matters this week.
Of all the issues I am working on this session, border security is the farthest behind.
First, let’s recognize some facts. The federal government is not only failing to enforce federal immigration law, it is deliberately violating it in a way that uses federal tax dollars to subsidize the profits of the cartels. These violations are enabling the deliberate fentanyl poisoning deaths of over 100,000 Americans per year. It also enables the sexual exploitation of children and the entry into the Texas of potential sleeper foreign agents.
And worse, the billions of Texas tax dollars and deployment of DPS and Texas National Guard resources is not working to stop the devastation being wrought on Texans. And to the degree that Texas resources are being used to assist federal agents in the illegal processing of illegal aliens, Texas taxes are also being used to enrich the cartels.
The reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court in US v Arizona that says that the federal government pre-empts state action to enforce federal immigration law has sapped the will of Texas elected officials to do what it will take to stop the devastation – to repel all border crossings that do not come through ports of entry.
The most important action – and in my opinion – the only way we will actually solve the problems is to act upon the power reserved in the Constitution to Texas to act independently to repel the danger and invasion at the border. That reservation of power is found in Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, which says:
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay. (emphasis added)
This provision allows Texas to protect Texans – without seeking the approval or allowing the intervention of the federal government. Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 makes clear that Texas has the sovereignty to take care of the business to protect its citizens. Sovereigns don’t seek permission. Sovereigns act. Especially when the servant delegated to defend you not only refuses to do so, but actually joins in the assault.
So, a Texas declaration of invasion and/or imminent danger that tells the world and the feds why Texas will be repelling all cross-border traffic outside the ports of entry - whether the feds help or get in the way – is the top border security priority of Texas Constitutional Enforcement this session. Note that this approach is also part the RPT Border Security Legislative Priority. And to ensure that we do this, the legislature must act.
We are being told by a state senator and a state rep that a legislative declaration is coming, but it has not been filed yet. And we have language out of Legislative Council ready to file that will require repelling and removal of invaders if the declaration is made, but we have no legislator that has yet stepped up to file and lead on it.
The Speaker several times has publicly promised an innovative border solution to be filed soon. I don’t know what that is, but some knowledgeable legislative players have speculated that it will be a combination of the creation of a new border security department that will take the pressure off the DPS and Texas National Guard combined with a declaration of invasion. We will know in a few days. By the way, I think it likely that the Texas House Freedom Caucus will play a prominent role in this effort.
The RPT Border Security Legislative Priority has two other provisions – stopping Texas taxpayer services for illegal aliens and interstate compacts to bring more resources. There are several interstate compact bills (2 in the House and 2 in the Senate), including HB 2396 by the Chair of House Homeland Security & Public Safety, Ryan Guillen.
And we have a draft in the works to stop Texas taxpayer services for illegal aliens, but it is not yet released, and we have no one stepping up to introduce it in either chamber.
By the way, it is clear to me that there is still LOTS of constitutional ignorance at the Texas Capitol. An SREC member told me this week that a Republican member of the Border Security Committee told him that Texas declaration of invasion would be unconstitutional because of the supremacy clause. Clearly that Texas Senator does not understand that the U.S. Constitution makes, not the federal government supreme, but the U.S. Constitution and laws in pursuance thereof. And Article I, Section 3, Clause 3 clearly reserves the power of Texas to act independently to protect its citizens is right there in black and white in the Constitution.
I have also been told – without any stated reasons – that “experts” are telling legislators that only the governor, not the legislature, has the authority to declare an invasion. See this article refuting that canard. There is not a scintilla of constitutional text supporting such a notion. I am reminded of the Ayn Rand quote, “The question is not who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me.” Texans used to know that fortune favors the bold. Is that still true?
So, while busloads of various groups and an army of lobbyists are seeking the legislature to focus on the normal, business-as-usual issues, a very few are pushing to get substantive action on what most of Republican primary voters think is an existential threat to Texas – the border invasion.
What happens in the next few weeks will determine the fate of untold millions. If you want to help this week, call the members of the Senate Border Security Committee and the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, especially chairs Brian Birdwell and Ryan Guillen to let them know that you want a legislative declaration of invasion and Texas to actually repel border-crossers outside ports of entry. It will only be when the busses are heading to Mexico to remove invaders rather than shipping them to the interior of the U.S., that we will know we are starting to solve this problem.
Texas Constitutional Enforcement
Email: info at tomglass.org
Texas Constitutional Enforcement Legislative Status Report – Feb 4, 2023
When you are trying to get legislation passed in the Texas Legislature, the first month of the Texas Legislature should be spent gathering information on who is on staff for the legislators, meeting with your legislators who are your potential champions, persuading legislators to put your draft legislation into the long Legislative Counsel queue, and making sure that you have the best champions you can get for the bills you want to see passed.
In the Texas Senate, committee chairmanships and members have been assigned. We are still waiting on Texas House committee assignments, and many House members will not decide to champion a bill until they know what committees they are on. Right now, we are sitting at Day 26 in the 88th Legislature, and that is later than 3 of 4 of the last legislatures. (The longest was 31 days in 2017.)
So, let’s review the top bill ideas in the Texas Constitutional Enforcement Legislative Agenda:
Right to Use Cash and Cash Substitutes Add to Texas Bill of Rights – There are lots of urgent issues for this session because there is a multi-front war on Texas. But my personal highest priority for this session is getting this passed. That is because I believe we will need it before the next legislative session comes around in 2025. The Federal Reserve is already piloting its digital Central Bank Digital Currency (CDBC) as we speak. I think we are one financial crisis away from implementation.
The good news is that we have two able champions who have said they will lead in the Senate and House. Senator Tan Parker filed our bill last session (called HJR 100 then) when he was a State Rep, and has agreed to file it again in the Senate. And State Rep. Gio Capriglione, who is well respected for his knowledge and leadership on monetary issues, has agreed to file in the House. We don’t have the SJR and HJR numbers for this session, yet, but stay tuned.
Click here for more information on this bill.
Border Security – Legislative Declaration of Invasion and Statute Requiring Repel and Remove During Invasions – I have been disappointed that there does not seem to be much energy around border security so far. But the Senate is showing leadership by appointing a new committee dedicated just to Border Security chaired by the able leader, Brian Birdwell. The other two Republicans on the Senate Border Security are Phil King and Pete Flores. The Democrats are border Senators, Cesar Blanco and Juan Hinojosa. I heard last week that Senator Lois Kolkhorst has a legislative declaration of invasion in draft in Leg Counsel. But I could find no one working on a bill to repel and remove when we declare invasion.
So, I have drafted such a bill and am circulating it, trying to get it into Leg Counsel fast, so we have a shot at getting it filed in time to be heard. Click here to see the draft language of the required repel or remove bill. Click here for more discussion of who declares an invasion and why.
On another border security note, I have given feedback to Rep. David Spiller and Senator Bob Hall’s staff on their interstate compact companion bills (HB 82 and SB 237). The bills contain language requiring Congressional approval for the interstate compacts (as required by Art. I, Sec. 10). But I recommended adding language to NOT require Congressional approval if the governor or the legislature has declared an invasion because Art. I, Sec. 10 also says that it is not needed in that case.
Unalienable Right to Decline Vaccination – we have the language in Leg Counsel, but no legislator has yet agreed to champion when it becomes ready to file. Click here for more information on this issue.
Federal No-Knock Raid Bill - we have an enthusiastic sponsor in the House for this bill. It is in Leg Counsel, and I hope to announce its bill number and sponsor soon.
Texas Sovereignty Act - this bill is farther along than we have ever seen in that it was pre-filed by both chambers. Our champions are Rep. Cecil Bell, Jr. and Senator Bob Hall (HB 384 and SB 313). Click here for more information.
Rule of Law Enforcement – Big county DAs in Texas have been captured by George Soros and cannot be relied upon to enforce laws fundamental to the liberty and safety of Texans. On top of that, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has opined that the Texas Legislature cannot delegate independent prosecutorial authority to the Attorney General on separation of powers grounds. I am pushing the creation of a state level independent prosecutorial office under the judiciary that will have the ability to prosecute election integrity, border security-related matters, public integrity, official oppression, abortion, sedition, and riot. At least one such bill is in Leg Counsel. Click here for more information.
More is in the works. But that is enough for now.
If you want to help now, contact the legislators you think might help to ask them to lead on our Border Security legislation and the Unalienable Right to Decline Vaccination. And keep me posted on who is interested, so that I can give staffs the right documents and information.
Once bills get filed and assigned to committees, there will be lots more we all can do!
Texas Constitutional Enforcement
Email: info at tomglass.org
As I have been urging Texas legislators to declare a border invasion so that Texas can actually #RepelRemove invaders and withstand a challenge to that action at the Supreme Court, the most common question I have gotten is, “When the Constitution talks about an invasion, who does it contemplate making that declaration? The governor? Or the Texas legislature?”
And I ran into a knowledgeable commentator this weekend who said that some people think that only the governor can declare an invasion of a state. I disagree with that view. Here are the reasons.
First, let’s take a look at Article IV, Sec. 4, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which says:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
This provision was put in for a situation that the framers expected, where the federal government actually wanted to do its constitutional duty. And when a state wanted to formally ask for assistance from the federal government (at least in cases of domestic violence), the legislature was the first choice and the governor the backup. From that angle, at least, it appears that the framers thought that the state legislatures – as the representatives of the people -- were the proper place to set policy.
Second, let’s look at the section of the Constitution which sets limits on state action, Article I, Sec. 10, Clause 3 to see what it says about this issue:
“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
This is the clause that tells us that Texas is free to take action without federal constraint when we are in imminent danger or being actually invaded.
Combine that with the Tenth Amendment, which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Who decides who can declare the state in imminent danger or that it is actually being invaded? From Tenth Amendment logic, is the federal government delegated the power to say how a state will declare an invasion or imminent danger? Answer: No. Are the states prohibited from using any method of declaring invasion or imminent danger? Answer: No. So, the each individual state (respectively means individually or unilaterally) has the final decision on how it will declare an invasion or imminent danger.
And there is one other perspective on who decides monumental issues like imminent danger/invasion – the Texas Constitution. In the Legislative Department, Article 2 of the Texas Constitution, we find this:
“Sec. 62. CONTINUITY OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS FOLLOWING ENEMY ATTACK. (a) The Legislature, in order to insure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack, shall have the power and the immediate duty to provide for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices, of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices. . .”
In other words, the Texas framers put major policy decisions about governmental actions during enemy attack into the hands of the Texas Legislature. Enemy attack sounds a lot like invasion to me.
And, who delegates emergency power to the governor in the Texas Emergency Act and the Texas Disaster Act? Of course, it is the legislature. The legislature has the power to set policy and create law. It is the ultimate authority that delegates authority to others. In our system of government, the ultimate authority is the people and their representatives in the legislature.
My bottom line is that the constitutional language leans toward a legislative invasion being preferred, but states can do what they want, and a gubernatorial declaration works, too. Just because the president won't do his job and the governor does not do his does not take the Texas legislature off the hook. Far from it, it puts the Texas Legislature front and center in this crisis.
Why is all this invasion discussion important? It’s because the U.S. Supreme Court said in a case called U.S. v. Arizona that when it comes to immigration, federal law preempts state law.
This puts us in the situation where the federal government tells Texans that they are in charge of immigration, and that we cannot do anything about immigration, but then proceed to not only do nothing about violations of federal immigration law, but become active violators of the law using our tax dollars in partnership with the human trafficking business with the cartels.
Texas desperately needs a way to act to stop the imminent danger to Texans caused by federal failure. And if we declare invasion and/or imminent danger, we are liberated to do what we need to do to solve the problem. When someone hauls Texas into federal court over Texas doing what must be done, we will point out to the Supreme Court that we are not in immigration territory, but in invasion territory, constitutionally, and the Supreme Court is likely to agree.
Click here to see the 2023 Legislative Agenda of Texas Constitutional Enforcement.
The Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) in State v Stephenson last year said that the legislature cannot delegate independent prosecutorial authority to the Attorney General (AG).
That is terrible news on several fronts. First, we are not very likely to get any substantive election fraud prosecutions out of the very places we need it, the big counties that are controlled by Soros-funded District Attorneys hostile to election integrity.
Second, the Texas Sovereignty Act as written calls for the delegation of independent prosecution of the Official Oppression Act by the AG, and that provision of the bill as written is now Dead On Arrival.
Finally, the Soros-funded DAs in big counties are not just refusing to prosecute election integrity. They are not prosecuting a host of other laws, as well. They let the 2020 rioters go. Some are saying they will not prosecute Texas abortion law. We need independent prosecutorial authority delegated to some statewide figure, and the CCA says we can't use the AG for that position.
I have been talking to a number of folks about how not only will to solve the election integrity problem, but how we can expand the subject matter jurisdiction beyond election code to Official Oppression, abortion, public integrity, riot, sedition, and border-security-related crimes.
So how do we solve the problem? A Constitutional amendment could do the trick, but that takes time we don’t have, and more importantly it requires Texas Democrat approval, something which is VERY unlikely to happen.
I want one of the following solutions:
- State District Attorney (elected) with the limited subject matter jurisdiction discussed above and statewide independent prosecutorial power. Would want the enabling legislation to call for a special election in November, 2023 to fill the position.
- A prosecutorial bureau – call it the State Prosecutor’s Office - under the judiciary with the limited subject matter jurisdiction discussed above that can be appointed or elected.
- I have heard one person opine that the CCA might not accept a State District Attorney because the language of the judicial section of the Texas Constitution (Art. 5) implies without explicitly stating it, that only smaller districts for prosecutors were contemplated. That commentator said he thinks that four or five districts would pass CCA review whereas a statewide district might not. I would be OK with that IF the districts were arranged in such a way that the large counties did not swamp the votes of the surrounding counties. The whole reason for this exercise is to ensure that the big counties don’t stop prosecuting laws important to the security to all Texans.
Two other approaches to solve the problem have already have filed bills. State Representative Keith Bell has introduced a bill to allow adjacent county DAs to prosecute election crimes if asked to do so by the AG. (HB 678). And State Rep Bryan Slaton has introduced HB 125 to allow the AG to file suit against DAs who have a pattern and practice of not enforcing election crimes, allowing civil penalties. (I have been told that there is at least one Senator working on the same approach as HB 125.)
While I appreciate those attempts, I am not too excited about either approach. I favor the adjacent county approach over the lawsuits by the AG against DAs. Even if the AG prevails in court against a big county DA, forcing the DA to act, that forced, hostile DA is unlikely to do a good job, and we STILL will not produce much.
And while the adjacent county route is better than nothing, it puts too much of a burden on already stretched thin DAs in usually rapidly growing jurisdictions that have more than enough workload. It is likely to be viewed for it is – one more unfunded mandate by the Texas Legislature on the counties.
I am shopping the three solutions above in both the Senate and the House. I think there is broad agreement that the problem created by the CCA needs to be fixed. I hope we can fix it AND do more to ensure that laws needed for ordered rule of law are enforced in Texas.
I welcome feedback on how we solve this problem that is vital to the security and liberty of Texans. And I welcome any information about what legislators have what plan to solve this problem.
Tom Glass leads Texas Constitutional Enforcement (txce.org and Texas Constitutional Enforcement groups on Facebook, MeWe, and Gab). You can follow him on Twitter (@tomgglass) and reach him via email at info at tomglass.org.
As I plow through the bills filed so far, I have found another federal pushback bill filed that is solidly in our wheelhouse, HB 262 by Valoree Swanson and its companion in the Senate, SB 242, by Mayes Middleton. I call it the Texas Refusal to Assist Officers of the Union Act, hearkening to one of four methods outlined by James Madison in Federalist 46 that should be used to resist unconstitutional acts.
The bill requires the Texas Attorney General to file every month a report in the Texas Register on any rules promulgated by federal agencies that "violates the rights guaranteed to the citizens of the United States by the United States Constitution or exceeds the powers specifically granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution" and is implemented "in response to an executive order by the president." Once such rules are listed in the Texas Register, Texas state agencies and subdivisions "may not cooperate with a federal government agency in implementing . . ."
This bill has three salient differences in approach to the Texas Sovereignty Act. First, it relies on the opinion of the AG on the constitutionality of federal action rather than a standing committee of the combined chambers of the legislature and sign off by the full legislature and the governor.
Second, it narrowly focuses on federal regulations implemented in response to a presidential executive order rather than the broad focus of the Texas Sovereignty Act on all federal acts. (I hope to persuade Rep. Swanson to amend the bill to remove the narrowing provisions and go with the TSA broad federal act definition before this goes to hearing.)
Third, this bill is one of required non-assistance rather then the call to prosecute feds using the Texas Official Oppression Act. Swanson's approach is more in-line with the approach advocated by the Tenth Amendment Center. And it is one that was implemented for firearms laws in the last legislative session.
I consider this an exciting development and something this group can sink our teeth into this session.
Here is a link to the bill language: https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/88R/billtext/html/HB00262I.htm