Texas Republicans’ push to ditch the Union is picking up momentum in North Texas.
As first reported by the Denton Record-Chronicle, the Denton County Republican Party has passed a resolution in support of the Texas Independence Referendum Act.
Filed by Fredericksburg state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, House Bill 1359 would let Texans decide on the following question: “Should the Legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”
HB 1359's passage is one of Denton County GOP’s priorities, which the party hopes will send “a strong message” to state lawmakers. The party also resolved to launch a campaign informing Texas Republican voters about the proposition’s importance.
In explaining the rationale behind the resolution, the party calls the federal bureaucracy “unaccountable” and “invasive.” It complains that needless regulations are crippling “entrepreneurial initiative and the creation of wealth,” and that there isn’t hope of returning the bureaucracy to its constitutional role.
The party also says the state's constitution allows Texans "to alter, reform, or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.” (Not all constitutional scholars agree this point means Texas can just pack up and take off.)
Although there was a “difference of opinion on the matter,” a majority voted in favor of the resolution on the night of the meeting, Denton County Republican Party Chair Jayne Howell said in an email.
On April 15, Denton County GOP’s executive committee passed the resolution in support of the bill, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. Precinct Chair Tim Curtiss, who is also a local director for the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM), presented the resolution.
TNM is pushing for the state to “Texit,” which the organization defines as the process that will get Texas to independence. According to its website, Texit would mean “an end to the giant sucking sound of $103-$160 billion dollars per year being siphoned from the pockets of Texas taxpayers.” It would also mean Texans could “control [their] own destiny.”
To TNM President Daniel Miller's knowledge, Denton is the first county GOP that has passed such a resolution. But Miller said other county executive committees have asked for copies of that resolution, from which they can pattern their own.
Even though it may be too late in the legislative session for HB 1359 to get anywhere, Texit supporters aren’t taking no for an answer, Miller said. He says Texans will either get a referendum on Texit in 2021 or have a referendum on elected officials in 2022.
While state lawmakers may think they can run out the clock on Texit, it's not just another hot-button policy issue, Miller said.
“They’re going to have to give the people their say on this,” he said. “We’re on an inevitable trajectory toward a vote, whether it happens in 2021 or shortly thereafter. But it will happen.”
The Texit movement counts around 412,300 supporters, according to TNM’s website. The TNM primarily attracts conservatives and libertarians, and each one of HB 1359’s authors and co-authors is a Republican.
State GOP leaders have also expressed support for HB 1359. Earlier this year, Republican Party of Texas Chair Allen West told the Observer, “I’ve said … ‘What would be wrong with allowing people to have a vote on the future of Texas?’ That’s all.”
The county seat may be known as a liberal bastion, but Denton County is also home to some infamous far-right extremists, including Jason Lee Van Dyke, the former lawyer for the hate group the Proud Boys. HuffPost also linked Joseph Kane, a former precinct chair for the Denton County Republican Party, to the white nationalist organization Identity Evropa.
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