That’s the idea proposed by state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg), who has kept his promise to file legislation that would let the citizens of Texas choose a path back to 1836. House Bill (HB) 1359, dubbed “The Texan Independence Referendum Act,” would give Texans a choice on whether or not to secede.
“This is not a resolution to allow for immediate independence,” Biedermann’s office emphasized in a press release. “This legislation will give power directly to the people via referendum and allow Texans the right to discuss, debate and vote on creating a path toward Texas Independence.”
Even though the Republican Party of Texas names the right to secede as a plank in the party platform, Biedermann’s proposal exposed fault lines that commonly widen between wings of the party at the state level. State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) called the referendum “un-American.”
“Based on what you’ve said the bill does, it seems like the most anti-American bill I’ve seen in my 4+ terms in the Texas House,” Leach tweeted.
“It’s a disgrace to the Lone Star State. The very definition of seditious. A true embarrassment. And you should be ashamed of yourself for filing it.”
The bill derives authority from the first two sections of the Texas Constitution. Section 1 declares Texas to be “a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.”
Section 2 enshrines the right of Texans to overhaul their government:
“All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit… they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
The official filing of the referendum bill has quickened the long-dormant news watch of the Texas Nationalist Movement, the state’s largest pro-secession group. The organization previously pinned its hopes on Rep. James White’s (R-Hillister) expected referendum bill in 2013, though the legislation ended up as a simpler affirmation of Texas’ 10th Amendment that only hinted at secession and included no referendum or clear path towards it. Biedermann’s bill would authorize a referendum vote this November and establish a committee to disentangle Texas from the United States.
The lieutenant governor, the speaker of the Texas house, and four members from each chamber would make up the committee.