Since taking office last month, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West has been a vocal critic of the string of unilateral executive orders issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in response to the Chinese coronavirus.
Now he’s calling for a special session of the Texas Legislature.
In an interview with Texas Scorecard, West discussed his opposition to the trend of executive orders, which has left the elected Texas Legislature completely out of the process since the first disaster declaration over the coronavirus was signed by Abbott on March 13.
“I think that America and Texas, we are three branches of government, not three branches of rule,” said West. “I think it’s key for everyone to understand that no elected official has the power to make a decision about who or what is essential.”
West acknowledged the importance of certain emergency powers, in which the governor can issue orders for 30 days during a crisis.
“But then when you want to continue on, it’s important that you do bring the Legislature in because that is the key in those checks and balances,” he added.
“Now we are looking at several of our members of the Texas state House and state Senate who have brought a lawsuit against the governor,” said West, referencing a suit brought earlier this week by five Texas legislators over the controversial $295 million agreement with MTX Group to bring contact tracing to Texas.
“We are supposed to have taxpayer funds that are apportioned based upon the Legislature and making sure that’s a part of our budget process,” said West. “So, yes, we should have a special session because that’s what the people expect; and that how’s you govern, not rule,”
“Orders, dictates, mandates, decrees, and things of that nature … that’s not what we’re about in Texas. That’s not what we’re about in America,” he added.
West noted that he had the opportunity to sit down with Abbott ahead of a campaign event by President Donald Trump in Midland last week.
In his full interview with Texas Scorecard, West discusses his first weeks on the job as chairman of the Texas GOP, the party’s role in keeping elected officials accountable, and how citizens can get involved.