“The federal government is out of control and does not represent the values of Texans. That is why I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation,” Biedermann wrote.
The yet-untried idea stands astride the first two sections of the Texas Constitution for legal support. Article 1, Section 1 reads:
“Texas is 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 guarantees the right of the citizenry to change or even scrap the state government.
“All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient,” Section 2 reads.
Texas Nationalists are not the only champions of the idea, known in their version as the Texas Independence Referendum Act. The official platform of the Republican Party of Texas includes the right to secede as its 65th plank.
“Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified,” the platform reads.
“Texas retains the right to secede from the United States should a future president and congress change our political system from a constitutional republic to any other system.”
State Rep. James White (R-Woodville) authored a bill in 2013 that would have “reaffirm[ed] the state’s sovereignty under the Texas Constitution and the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” which Texas Nationalists among others saw as a first step towards secession. White’s bill included no referendum.