Sovereignty Resolution Passes Texas House 99 to 36

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Although State Rep. Senfronia Thompson was able to use a point of order last Tuesday to temporarily stall HCR 50, a resolution affirming Texas sovereignty, the resolution passed  today by a vote of 99 to 36.

State Rep. Brandon Creighton, HCR 50's primary author, has said it has nothing to do with secession and “everything to do with [Texas] succeeding in the union.”

During the debate on the House floor today, Rep. Richard Raymond asked Creighton if he thought local governments should be able to reject laws made at the state level, a point that proponents of HCR 50 would like to ignore.

Rep. Garnet Coleman made a powerful argument against the resolution, via the Statesman:

Coleman cautioned that Texans need to be careful when talking about “state’s rights.”

“Growing up in the South, there are certain words that bring up certain emotions,” Coleman said, emotions connected to the denial of rights.

Here is an excerpt from the resolution:

WHEREAS, The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, Today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government;


RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed

Last month, just a few days before the “Tea Parties” were held, Rick Perry held a press conference to announce his support for the bill.

I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.

That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.

Last week, the Statesman's Jason Embry called HCR 50 “the measure that Perry has most associated himself with” yet today it passed easily and did so with the support of some Democrats.

Thank you to the House Democrats who stood up against HCR 50 today.


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  1. Resolved?
    Is the legislature drinking heavily down there? Because if they're not, maybe something's contaminated the water? I'm concerned.

  2. While not yet official this is the record as it appears on the
    Texas Legislature Online website. Our favorite progressive Rep Anchia voted against but Dunnam who I thought more of voted for. My Rep, such as he is, didn't vote as he's recovering from his heart attack. If we get lucky HD 44 will be an open seat next year.

    RV# 1544 – Unofficial Totals: 99 Yeas, 36 Nays, 4 Present, not voting

    Yeas – Anderson; Aycock; Berman; Bohac; Bonnen; Branch; Brown, B.; Brown, F.; Button; Callegari; Chisum; Christian; Cohen; Cook; Crabb; Craddick; Creighton; Crownover; Darby; Davis, J.; Dunnam; Edwards; Eissler; Elkins; Fletcher; Flynn; Frost; Gallego; Gattis; Geren; Guillen; Gutierrez; Hamilton; Hancock; Hardcastle; Harless; Harper-Brown; Hartnett; Hilderbran; Homer; Hopson; Howard, C.; Hughes; Hunter; Isett; Jackson; Jones; Keffer(C); King, P.; King, S.; King, T.; Kleinschmidt; Kolkhorst; Laubenberg; Legler; Lewis; Lucio; Madden; Maldonado; Martinez; McCall; McReynolds; Merritt; Miklos; Miller, D.; Miller, S.; Moody; Morrison; Oliveira; Orr; Ortiz; Otto; Parker; Patrick; Paxton; Peña; Phillips; Pickett; Pitts; Quintanilla; Riddle; Rios Ybarra; Ritter; Rose; Sheffield; Shelton; Smith, T.; Smith, W.; Smithee; Solomons; Swinford; Taylor; Thibaut; Truitt; Turner, C.; Vaught; Weber; Woolley; Zerwas

    Nays – Allen; Alonzo; Anchia; Burnam; Castro; Chavez; Coleman; Davis, Y.; Deshotel; Dukes; Dutton; Eiland; Farias; Farrar; Flores; Gonzales; Gonzalez Toureilles; Hernandez; Herrero; Hodge; Leibowitz; Mallory Caraway; Marquez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Menendez; Naishtat; Olivo; Raymond; Rodriguez; Thompson; Turner, S.; Veasey; Villarreal; Vo; Walle

    Present, not voting – Mr. Speaker; Bolton; Howard, D.; Strama

    Absent, Excused – Alvarado; Driver; Farabee; Giddings; Kent; Kuempel

    Absent, Excused, Committee Meeting – Corte

    Absent – England; Heflin; Hochberg; Pierson

    • Dunnam?
      Is this like a trick vote? To vote against “sovereignty” is to vote against Texas? And will be used against you? Too bad Florida didn't have this kind of “resolve” in 2000.

      • The 10th amendment.
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        Not a word about “sovereignty”

        Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise, within a specific territory, the functions of a Nation-state and be answerable to no higher authority. A sovereign is a supreme lawmaking authority.

        • hcr 50
          from the resolution:

          RESOLVED, That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas

          hereby claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment

        • Nothing about agency either
          Resolutions like this one miss the key phrase in the Tenth Amendment which also tracks the preamble of the Constitution — “the people.”

          Claiming that the Tenth Amendment affirms that the federal government is the agent of the states not only misreads the Tenth Amendment, it also ignores the history of the Constitutional Convention, the ratification process, and the drafting of the bill of rights.

          A key point during the ratification debate was that both the state governments and the federal government were agents of the people.

          I can understand the objection to unfunded mandates, but to wrap up that objection in claims of sovereignty and agency is factually and historically wrong.

    • Eiland
      Not bad for a guy who's district isn't nearly as democratic as it used to be.

      Should we take the house in 2010, I'm in his camp for Speaker.

    • Travis County delegation
      What I'm wondering is what Valinda Bolton, Donna Howard, and Mark Strama were doing on the sidelines. There's got to be a story there.  

  3. Text has been amended
    I would probably still have voted No, but if am reading right, the text of the bill has changed significantly to add more qualifications that some unfunded federal mandates may be needed to protect people's rights, and to be more clear that Texas is part of an “indivisible” United States.  See

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