Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton re-energized talk of secession Monday when he filed a bill at the state legislature that would allow voters to answer the question on the ballot.
The Texas Independence Referendum Act, or TEXIT, would permit the Lone Star State to renew its push for independence. It would place the decision on the ballot and ask voters to approve the establishment of a commission to explore the possibility.
If approved, the referendum would appear on the 2024 general election ballot.
Slaton’s push is just the latest in a long series of efforts to exercise autonomy in the second-largest state. The Texas Nationalist Movement has some 440,000 supporters from across the political aisles seeking to gain independence.
That movement began back in 2005.
In a statement, the representative said, “The Texas Constitution is clear that all political power resides in the people. After decades of continuous abuse of our rights and liberties by the federal government, it is time to let the people of Texas make their voices heard.”
H.B. 3596 would permit state leaders to “investigate the possibility of Texas independence” as well as “present potential plans” to lawmakers.
Among issues to be considered would be constitutional and statutory matters, treaties and agreements with foreign governments, and negotiations with Washington.
Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller told Fox News that the legislation’s introduction is a “historic first step in taking back our autonomy.”
Not all state Republicans are on board with the idea. Rep. Jeff Leach tweeted that the plan is “already dead.” He called the idea “ridiculous” and the “very definition of hypocritical and seditious treason.”
This is hardly the state’s first foray into secession. There have been several other attempts, including the most famous one following the Civil War that was decided by the Supreme Court’s Texas v. White decision.
In that ruling, the high court established that states may not unilaterally secede from the Union.
Slaton is undeterred, however. He filed his bill on the 187th anniversary of the Alamo. Using the famous battle as a backdrop for his proposal, he said “Texas was born out of a desire for liberty and self-governance,” and he proclaimed that the same desire is shared by “all Texans” in 2023.