In a speech before a crowd of conservatives at the Texas Republican State Convention Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the delegation to take a quick victory lap on his first year as governor. In his remarks, Abbott spoke to the state’s increased funding for transportation, tax relief, and other accomplishments and also provided a “sneak peek” of his legislative priorities for the coming session.
A major portion of Abbott’s speech dealt with his “Texas Plan” for an Article V “Convention of the States.” Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution amendments may be proposed by either Congress or the constitutional convention and must be approved by the states in order to become law.
Specific provisions eyed by Abbott include prohibiting Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within the confines of a single State, requiring a balanced budget, allowing a two-thirds majority of States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision, and other reforms.
Abbott also assured the audience that he would be joining in on what has become a nationwide debate on bathroom ordinances. “Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues,” Abbott told thousands of delegates at Dallas’ convention center. “I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back.”
Though defeated in Houston last year, many cities in Texas and across the nation have enacted policies compelling governments and businesses to open previously sex-separated bathrooms and locker rooms for any individuals that wish to use them.
Currently, the State of North Carolina is in a legal battle with the Obama administration after a lawsuit over its law prohibiting governments from writing business bathroom policy. Under the law, governmental facilities will require people to use the bathrooms that align with the gender assigned on their birth certificates. While lawmakers in that state call the matter a safety issue, the federal government argues that the measure violates individuals’ civil rights.
The Lone Star State has become a battleground as well after Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner announced a new policy requiring that schools adopt guidelines to allow students to use the bathroom that they feel aligns with their gender identity. Despite calls from numerous public officials and citizens for him to step down, Scribner has refused to resign.