OK. There it is in black and white and with an official bill number. As promised by secessionist Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, House Bill 1359 , the first step toward reincarnation of Texas as an independent country among the nations, was tossed into the legislative hopper on Tuesday. It’s […]
OK. There it is in black and white and with an official bill number. As promised by secessionist Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, House Bill 1359, the first step toward reincarnation of Texas as an independent country among the nations, was tossed into the legislative hopper on Tuesday.
It’s most likely headed for the legislative chipper to be spit out along with lots of other bad ideas. But don’t laugh, Biedermann and his backers are serious. And, as I told you in my recent column about their Jan. 21 virtual town hall meeting, they’re also potentially problematic, too.
HB 1359 is pretty simple. If approved by the Texas House and Senate and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (each of which is unlikely), the Nov. 2 ballot would include this nonbinding referendum question: "Should the legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”
No, it shouldn't. But a Biedermann press release announcing the bill filing says there are “indications that the Republic of Texas would not just survive, but thrive as an independent nation.”
“Voters of all political persuasions in Texas can agree on one thing, Washington D.C. is and has been broken,” Biedermann said in the statement. “Our federal government continuously fails our working families, seniors, taxpayers, veterans and small business owners. For decades, the promises of America and our individual liberties have been eroding. It is now time that the people of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future. This is not a left or right political issue. Let Texans Vote!”
In last week’s Texas Nationalist Movement virtual town hall, Republican Biedermann said “The republic as we know it is dead. We all hoped that Trump would pull a rabbit out of his hat. We know the election was stolen.”
Sidenote: Biedermann was in D.C. for the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally that turned into an attack on the U.S. Capitol. He says he didn’t participate in the latter.
I believe Biedermann, proprietor of Biedermann’s Ace Hardware in Fredericksburg, is the first Texas lawmaker I’ve come across who seems to not want to be an American anymore.
Because I knew you’d want to know, and because Monday was a nice day for a drive, I headed out to check out Biedermann’s store in Fredericksburg. Your question, as our great national anthem sort of asks: “Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er Biedermann’s Ace Hardware?”
Yes, it does. The star-spangled banner still waves o’er the store. And inside, on aisle 20, Biedermann’s Ace Hardware offers a nice selection of American flags, all made in the U.S.A. Seems a bit dissonant for a secessionist.
And on Tuesday, I watched as Biedermann, hand over heart, joined House colleagues in pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Actually, because of the Texas flag mask over his mouth, I couldn't tell if his lips were moving.)
It’s fair to say Biedermann’s three-county district remains mega MAGA country, with Trump taking 79% of the vote in Gillespie, 76% in Kendall and 71% in Comal.
Trump flags, albeit weathered, still fly roadside on U.S. 290 in and around Fredericksburg. There’s also an old truck with this hand-painted message on both sides: “Trump / Promises Kept.”
In downtown Fredericksburg, peeking out of a store is a t-shirt showing Trump as Darth Vader. “The Empires Needs Trump. The Power of The Right Side,” it says.
So that’s a taste of where Biedermann is coming from as we all kind of know where this bill is headed. Texas independence is a bad idea that could give rise to this frightening notion: President Ted Cruz. On the plus side, independence could mean immigration laws that would make it more difficult for OU to steal Texas high school football players. Maybe even a wall and make Oklahoma pay for it.
And we should note that the secession effort is getting some out-of-state notice, as seen in this recent Casper Star Tribune headline: “Wyoming GOP chair: Western states ‘paying attention’ to Texas effort to secede.”
So the eyes of western America are on us.
And Biedermann remains dead serious about this, as evidenced in his tweet two days prior to his trip to D.C. to participate in the Jan. 6 rally: “The politicians in D.C. are out of touch w/the voices of God fearing Americans and w/the radical nature of the Democrat Party, it only renews my resolve to fight to give Texans the right to vote on Texit.”
He later told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung: “On Jan. 6, I, along with thousands of Americans, peacefully marched on our nation’s Capitol to make our voices heard. It was unfortunate that some used this gathering to sow discord and promote violence.”
Don’t look for all of Biedermann’s GOP House colleagues to back his secession bill.
“This is a ridiculously outrageous waste of time and it is not a serious legislative proposal,” Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, recently tweeted. “It’s a joke and should be treated as such. Yes, I have concerns for our nation. But I still believe in the promise of America - and the vast majority of Texans do too!”
Biedermann’s reply to Leach: “So I’m guessing you won’t be co-authoring the Texas Independence bill I’ll be filing?”
Leach to Biedermann: “Based on what you’ve said the bill does, it seems like the most anti-American bill I’ve seen in my 4+ terms in the Texas House. It’s a disgrace to the Lone Star State. The very definition of seditious. A true embarrassment. And you should be ashamed of yourself for filing it.”
FYI, the current Texas GOP platform includes this heads-up: “Texas
retains the right to secede from the United States should a future president and congress change our political system from a constitutional republic to any other system.”
I’m confident this Biedermann measure is going the same place all but one of his did in the 2019 session. He authored 19 measures that year. One made it out of committee. It got Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature. And without it, the state of Texas would not have honored former state Rep. and Board of Education member Ken Mercer on the occasion of his retirement from “an outstanding career in the insurance and financial services industry.”
Biedermann’s 2019 portfolio also included House Concurrent Resolution 37, a dead-end effort to undesignate his hometown as the Polka Capital of Texas in favor of a designation as the Wine Capital of Texas. No word yet on whether he’ll try that one again this year.