Representative Cecil Bell and Senator Bob Hall have pre-filed the Texas Sovereignty Act in the 88th Texas Legislative Session. Rep Bell's number is HB 384. Sen. Hall's version in the Senate is SB 313.
Representative Bell has filed this bill in the three previous Texas legislative sessions. In 2021 it was HB 1215. In 2019, it was HB 1347, and in 2017, it was HB 2338. In 2017, Senator Brandon Creighton filed it in the Texas Senate as SB 2015.
In 2017, the bill gained 5 joint authors and 8 co-authors. A substitute passed out of committee in the House and died in Calendars. The language that passed out of committee in 2017 is the starting point for what was filed in 2023, 2021, and 2019.
Summary of Texas Sovereignty Act
HB 384 (C. Bell) and SB 313 (Hall)
Provide streamlined approach for the Texas legislature to formally declare that specific acts of the federal government are unconstitutional. Creates a standing legislative committee to review federal actions for constitutionality. The full legislature votes on declared unconstitutional acts and the governor reviews. Federal actions subject to Texas review are legislation, regulations, executive orders, federal judicial orders or decisions, and treaty enforcement.
Once an act is declared unconstitutional, law enforcement can arrest and prosecute federal agents who attempt enforcement action under the color of declared unconstitutional acts under the Texas penal code, including explicitly, the Texas Official Oppression Act (Texas Penal Code 39.03). While maintaining the ability of local district and county attorneys to prosecute, the attorney general is also given prosecutorial power to prosecute federal agents if a federal act has been declared unconstitutional.
- Explicitly states that this bill does not prohibit a public officer who has taken the oath from interposing to stop acts of the federal government which in the officer’s best understanding and judgment, violate the Constitution.
- Includes canons of construction guiding the analysis of the constitutionality of federal acts. The canons urge reliance on the text and structure of the Constitution and in cases of ambiguity, on sources that evidence original intent.
- Allows Texas citizens to seek an opinion about the constitutionality of a federal action in a Texas court.
Our state and nation are dying because the federal government is violating the Constitution every day in many ways – and no one is stopping them. The feds will never limit their own power. Texans must honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, and stop federal action in Texas that violates the Constitution. This requires the exercise of independent judgment about constitutional meaning, rejecting the notion that the federal judiciary is the sole or final arbiter of constitutional meaning.
This approach relies completely on Texans and Texas officials to secure the liberty of Texans, and can be implemented immediately. No relying upon, or waiting on other states to secure our liberty.
Click here for a downloadable PDF one page summary of the Texas Sovereignty Act.
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