By: Biedermann H.B. No. 1359
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to proposing a referendum to the people of the State of Texas on the question of whether this state should leave the United States of America and establish an independent republic.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. (a) At the general election to be held November 2, 2021, the voters shall be permitted to vote in a referendum on the question of whether this state should leave the United States of America and establish an independent republic.
(b) Notice of the election shall be given by inclusion of the proposition in the proclamation by the governor ordering an election on any proposed constitutional amendment to the state constitution and in the notice of that election given by each county judge, or, if no constitutional amendment is proposed, the governor shall order and each county judge shall give notice for an election proposing the referendum required by this section.
(c) The proposition shall be printed on the ballot above any proposed constitutional amendment under the heading: “Referendum Proposition.”
(d) The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: “Should the legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”
(e) Returns of the votes cast on the proposition shall be prepared and canvassed in the same manner as the returns on a proposed constitutional amendment.
(f) Immediately after the results of the election are certified by the governor, the secretary of state shall transmit a copy of the certification to the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and each member of the legislature.
(g) The referendum proposed under this section is nonbinding on any decision of the legislature following the submission of the report required by Section 2(h) of this Act.
SECTION 2. (a) The secretary of state shall immediately transmit a copy of the governor’s certification of the result of the referendum required under Section 1 of this Act to:
(1) the president of the United States;
(2) the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate of the Congress of the United States; and
(3) the members of the Texas delegation to the Congress of the United States.
(b) The Texas Independence Committee is a joint interim committee established to study and make recommendations regarding the most effective and expeditious method by which Texas may be returned to its status as an independent republic.
(c) The committee shall consider:
(1) recommendations for amending the Constitution of Texas to accommodate the needs of an independent nation, including:
(A) the creation of new elected and appointed offices;
(B) the modification of the powers, functions, and titles of existing offices;
(C) the renaming of the State of Texas to the Republic of Texas;
(D) the removal of unnecessary or undesirable provisions that exist solely as a consequence of Texas’ status as a state within the United States of America; and
(E) the identification of fundamental rights enumerated by the Constitution of the United States of America that may not be adequately preserved in the Constitution of Texas;
(2) recommendations for amending Texas statutes to accommodate the needs of an independent nation, including:
(A) the creation of new agencies;
(B) the modification of the powers, functions, and names of existing agencies; and
(C) the identification of necessary and desirable functions of government that are provided for under the statutory law of the United States of America but not adequately described in Texas statute;
(3) recommendations regarding transitional issues which must be negotiated with the government of the United States of America, including:
(A) any necessary or desirable changes in federal law;
(B) the determination of citizenship of residents of Texas;
(C) the disposition of the property and assets of the United States of America currently in Texas;
(D) a temporary currency union;
(E) a free trade agreement;
(F) a common travel agreement;
(G) the status of Texans currently serving in the armed forces of the United States of America;
(H) any necessary disposition of the Texas portion of the national debt of the United States of America;
(I) a collective defense arrangement;
(J) a postal agreement;
(K) the payment of pensions to Texans who have vested in the pension programs of the United States of America and its subnational governments;
(L) a social security totalization agreement; and
(M) any other transitional issues that the committee may identify; and
(4) recommendations regarding any international convention or multilateral agreement to which an independent Texas may become a party in order to benefit the people of Texas or ensure minimal disruption during a transition period.
(c) In addition to considering the issues described under Subsection (b) of this section, the committee shall include within its report required under Subsection (h) of this section a strategy for achieving Texas independence not later than 60 months after the date the results of the referendum election required under Section 1 of this Act are certified by the governor.
(d) The committee is composed of:
(1) the lieutenant governor;
(2) the speaker of the house of representatives;
(3) four senators appointed by the lieutenant governor, one of whom must be the chair of the senate committee on state affairs; and
(4) four members of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, one of whom must be the chair of the house committee on state affairs.
(e) The lieutenant governor and speaker of the house of representatives shall serve as co-chairs of the committee.
(f) The committee shall convene at the call of the co-chairs.
(g) The committee has all other powers and duties provided to a special or select committee by the rules of the senate and house of representatives, by Subchapter B, Chapter 301, Government Code, and by policies of the senate and house committees on administration.
(h) Not later than December 31, 2022, the committee shall report the committee’s findings and recommendations to the legislature.
(i) The committee is abolished and this Act expires January 1, 2023.
SECTION 3. (a) Section 2 of this Act takes effect on December 2, 2021, but only if the referendum proposed by the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, 2021, on the question of whether this state should plan to leave the United States of America and establish an independent republic is approved by the voters. If that referendum is not approved by the voters, Section 2 has no effect.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (a) of this section, this Act takes effect September 1, 2021.