Kyle Biedermann, member of the Texas House of Representatives, files Texas Referendum Act in hopes of state secession.
Official acronym to refer to Texas exiting the United States and transitioning into a self governing nation. Source: Like the Dew
By: David Ramirez and Nefertiti Garcia
Texan-Republican member of the House of Representatives, Kyle Biedermann, filed Bill HB 1359 on January 26, 2021, which lays out plans to secede from the U.S. as an independent nation.
Also known as the “Texas Referendum Act”, Bill HB 1359 would allow Texas residents to “vote in a referendum on the question of whether this state should leave the United States of America and establish an independent republic,” in the November general election, according to Section 1.A of the bill. The bill also lays procedures for the best way for Texas to secede, how the state’s constitution is to be amended, and the appointment of new offices in the chance that this referendum gets voted on.
The plan for the “Texit Bill”’ comes from Biedermann’s idea that the federal government does not align with or represent Texan values. Confirming that the Secession Bill is not a political argument, but Texans exercising their rights, Rep. Biedermann said that “This is not a left or right political issue. Let Texans vote!”
Though more than 12,000 signatures have already been gathered by Texans in support of the bill, the Bill as stated by Rep. Biedermann would not create “immediate Independence”, rather it exposes the idea of secession from the United States. In result, would put a referendum up for a vote that would allow for possible changes leading up to secession.
Texas has seceded once before in the past. In 1861, Texas was one of the 11 states that seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy prior to the Civil War, with that instance being a very violent one. The state rejoined the Union after the end of the Civil War in 1870.
Model of Texas seceding from the United States as an independent nation. Source: The Texas Tribune.
Though the proposed Bill is not related to the 2009 Texas National Movement , which criticized the federal government for its restrictive policies, their justifications for leaving the centralized government are the same. In response to the political rally, chanting for secession, Texan Governor Perry in 2009 said, “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that?”
On January 17, 2022, Republican-Dallas Rep. Jeff Leach remarked to Biedermann’s bill by tweeting, “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. 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.”
Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp has speculated what this bill could potentially mean for the United States of America as a whole in a video, notably mentioning the effect this would have on the Electoral College in future elections. “Democrats may actually support this,” he said. “If Texas were to secede from the Union, that is a whole lot of Electoral College votes leaving the federal elections, meaning that if Texas left the Union… pretty much there’d never be a Republican president ever again.”
Philipp also talks about how, in order for Texas to actually establish an independent republic, they must do so either through revolution or through the votes of the remaining 49 states. He mentions that if the other states vote on allowing Texas to secede, it could lead to “a movement of multiple states, not just Texas”, referencing representatives of other states he knew to be planning to draft similar resolutions.
Criticizing the Bill’s potential impact on the United States, an anonymous commenter on KSAT said ”This happens every new legislative session. Texas tried secession before and it did not work out well, a little thing called the CIVIL WAR.”
Praising the Bill’s intentions of Texans exercising their rights, an anonymous commenter on KSAT said “It is fitting that this conversation is originating in San Antonio, the cradle of Texas liberty.”
Joel Snyder, AP Government and Economics teacher at Animo Pat Brown, referenced the idea of California discussing secession in 2017, being a more “out of character” behavior in comparison to Texas. “Texas has always prided itself on its independence and its notion of a kind of looser connection to the country as a whole,” Snyder said. He believes the proposal of the bill to be more of a “symbolic gesture or, for lack of a better term, almost like a muscle-flexing, just trying to say how independent he [Biedermann] is and the state is.”
Snyder also predicts that leaving the union could have dire consequences for the state itself due to Texas’s lack of a state income tax, meaning that “the state does not collect taxes on what people make from their jobs who live there.” While this is particularly one of the factors that attracts workers and businesses to Texas, it also means that the state’s residents are offered less services, such as school funding. “Because they have such low-income taxes,” Snyder said. “There definitely would be a real problematic thing for them.”
The drawback to independent Texan support programs was especially notable during the recent Texas power outages, with the state’s reliance on its independent power grid. Texan newspaper Austin American Statesman said that “Nearly half of Texas’ installed wind power generation capacity went offline Monday because of frozen wind turbines in West Texas, according to Texas grid operators.” Texas’s reliance on its own energy grid disconnects it from federal power support, leaving the state at an even bigger disadvantage if it were to ever leave the nation.
As of now, it seems as if the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate and may prove to be a controversial topic referring to the constitution. However, if it does, it could result in an economic, cultural, and political impact for the Lone Star State, and the United States as a whole.