Texas Republican Introduces Bill Calling for Vote on Secession

texas-secession-vote.jpg Democratic Legislators Flee Texas To Stop Votes In Current Special Session - Credit: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
texas-secession-vote.jpg Democratic Legislators Flee Texas To Stop Votes In Current Special Session - Credit: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton has introduced a bill that would place a referendum for Texas’ secession from the United States on the 2024 ballot. H.B. 3596 would allow Texans to vote on “whether or not the State should investigate the possibility of Texas independence, and present potential plans to the Legislature.”

In a statement released on Twitter, Slaton wrote that “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.”

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If the referendum were to succeed, it would establish a committee tasked with investigating “the feasibility of independence from the Union and propose options and potential plans

for independence to the Texas Legislature.” The state representative included a petition supporting the bill’s passage in his announcement of the proposal.

Slaton has been at the center of various hardline conservative legislative proposals in Texas. He has introduced bills attempting to make abortion a criminal offense punishable by death, proposed rules to block Texas Democrats from holding committee chairmanships, floated tax benefits for heterosexual couples, and introduced measures to criminalize gender-affirming health care for minors.

Throughout its history as an independent republic, then annexed territory-turned-state, calls for Texas’ independence have remained constant. However, following the defeat of the confederacy in the Civil War, the 1869 Supreme Court case Texas v. White established that a state could not unilaterally secede from the nation. Despite the clear cut laws surrounding the territorial integrity of the United States, in 2022 the state’s Republican convention called for a referendum similar to the one proposed by Slaton.

Slaton’s suggestion of a “Texit” referendum comes on the heels of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for a “national divorce.” The Georgia representative began pushing for an official split between red states and blue states in February. The nonsensical proposal essentially calls for one-party rule in every state, while maintaining a skeletal federal government to enforce borders and military defense. Greene went so far as to propose that Democrats who moved to “red” states be barred from voting for five years.

While Greene’s fantasy misunderstands virtually every aspect of how representative government operates — particularly that most states are not wholly conservative or wholly liberal — the GOP’s growing interest in cleaving the country apart speaks to how far they’re willing to go to impose their ideology, or, as Greene put it recently, to create “safe spaces” for conservatives.

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