There are more than 12 months until the next legislative session convenes, but Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are wisely laying out a governing agenda ahead of the 2016 primaries. If your state legislators (and their chamber leadership) aren’t signed on, they are part of the problem.
Speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual policy meeting, Gov. Abbott last week called on the legislature to enter the “Convention of States” movement that has swept the nation in order to assert the authority of the states over the federal government. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, amendments can arise either from Congress or a convention of states; either way, the amendments must be approved by the states to be adopted.
Abbott’s Texas Plan recognizes that federal lawmakers from both parties have historically refused to give up their own power and so it calls on the state’s to use their full authority to limit Federal overreach.
From balancing the budget to giving the several states power to overturn federal actions, the constitutional amendments proposed by Abbott would never arise from Congress.
But beyond the Convention of States, Abbott and Patrick have been speaking and writing forcefully about their policy goals and objectives for the state. Yet their legislative initiatives will only be accomplished if candidates for the Texas House and Senate agree now to take action.
More directly, these items will only move if members of the Texas House pledge only to support leadership that is committed to working with Abbott and Patrick, not against them.
Culling through recent speeches and policy papers, here are eight of the common 2017 policies Abbott and Patrick are promoting.
An Abbott-Patrick Agenda For Texas
- Ban sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Protect the sanctity of life and prevent any tax funds from subsidizing abortion providers. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Refocus ethics laws on elected and appointed government officials rather than using them to restrict the First Amendment rights of private citizens. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Enact a strong constitutional state spending limit to prevent government in Texas from growing faster than population and inflation. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Increase the rights of Texans to self-governance and reduce the power of the federal government by enacting legislation that would allow Texas to participate in a convention of states limiting the powers of the federal government. [See above.]
- Promote competition in public schools and freedom for parents to determine the educational environment best suited for their children. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Support employee freedom by prohibiting governmental entities from colluding with labor unions to automatically deduct labor union dues from public employee paychecks. [Abbott. Patrick.]
- Protect the religious liberty of individuals, organizations, and businesses, so they are never forced to act in any way that violates their religious beliefs. [Abbott. Patrick.]