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It’s not really news that the latest Republican Party of Texas platform has some offbeat ideas in it. That’s always the case. The platform is the state GOP’s biennial gift to political reporters and columnists.
What is news is that every single one of those ideas — sound and/or unsound — was approved by the delegates at this convention. They didn’t vote on the platform as a whole. They voted to approve every single plank — 266 of them.
If history is any guide, the party’s candidates will pick and choose from the list, grabbing the ideas they like, ignoring others and distancing themselves from the entire platform, saying something like this time-tested line: “That’s just a snapshot of the sentiments of the GOP delegates at that time.”
The document is unenforceable and largely ignored, but edited by the delegates every two years. None of the planks in the final document met strong opposition, although some — like one supporting the state’s right to secede — were killed in committee before they reached the full convention. This is, finally, a snapshot of the Republican delegates’ sentiments — from the past week. A sampling, as it appears in the platform:
• “We support the repeal of the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution and the appointment of United States Senators by the state legislatures.”
• “We support our right to select our judges by direct vote.”
• “Pursuant to Article 1 Section 1 of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, Federally mandated legislation, which infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas, should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Regulation of Commerce in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution has exceeded the original intent. All attempts by the federal judiciary to rule in areas not expressly enumerated by the United States Constitution should be likewise nullified. Any federal enforcement activities that do occur in Texas should be conducted under the authority of the county sheriff.”
• “We oppose the appointment of unelected bureaucrats and we support defunding and abolishing the departments or agencies of the Internal Revenue Service, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Interior (specifically, the Bureau of Land Management), Transportation, Security Administration, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and National Labor Relations Board. In the interim, executive decisions by departments or agencies must be reviewed and approved by Congress before taking effect.”
• “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We oppose the granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”
• “All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death; therefore, the unborn, the aged, and the physically or mentally challenged have a fundamental individual right to life, which cannot be infringed.”
• “We support an aggressive war on terrorism, including radical Islamic terrorists, cooperating with our allies, and sanctioning nations who sponsor terrorists. We support the reasonable use of profiling, the prosecution of national security breaches, and the revision of laws or executive orders that erode our liberties. We call on governmental agencies to avoid and suspend all activities with all radical Islamic organizations, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
• “We oppose environmentalism that obstructs legitimate business interests and private property use, including the regulatory taking of property by governmental agencies. We oppose the abuse of the Endangered Species Act to confiscate and limit the use of personal property and infringement on property owner’s livelihood. “Climate Change” is a political agenda promoted to control every aspect of our lives. We support the defunding of “climate justice” initiatives and the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency and repeal of the Endangered Species Act.”
• “We oppose photo traffic enforcement cameras in the State of Texas.”
• “We oppose government regulations that coerce business owners and employees to violate their own consciences, beliefs, and principles.”
• “Overturning Obergefell v. Hodges- We believe this decision, overturning the Texas law prohibiting same-sex marriage in Texas, has no basis in the Constitution and should be reversed, returning jurisdiction over the definition of marriage to the states. The Governor and other elected officials of the state of Texas should assert our Tenth Amendment right and reject the Supreme Court ruling.”
• “We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex.”
• “We support the adoption of human embryos and the banning of human embryo trafficking.”
• “We oppose mandatory pre-school and kindergarten.”
• “Legislators shall prohibit reproductive health care services, including counseling, referrals, and distribution of condoms and contraception through public schools.”
• “We respect parental authority regarding sex education. We support the teaching of biology of reproduction and abstinence until marriage. We should prohibit entities and their affiliates that contradict our beliefs from conducting sex education and/or teacher training in public schools. We oppose all policies and curriculum that teach alternate lifestyles including homosexuality, transgender and other non-traditional lifestyles as normal.”
• “We oppose in-state college tuition for illegal aliens.”
• “We support public school facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms and showers being reserved for the use of students based on biological birth gender.”
• “We believe that the SBOE should continue to be an elected body consisting of fifteen members. Their responsibilities must include: appointing the Commissioner of Education, maintaining constitutional authority over the Permanent School Fund, maintaining sole authority over all curricula content and the state adoption of all educational materials. This process must include public hearings.”
• “We believe that all children should have access to quality education. We support the right to choose public, private, charter, or home education. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public, private, charter, or home school through means of tax exemptions and/or credits.”
• “We strongly oppose all laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. We oppose the monitoring of gun ownership, the taxation and regulation of guns, ammunition, and gun magazines. We collectively urge the Legislature to pass “constitutional carry” legislation, whereby law-abiding citizens that possess firearms can legally exercise their God-given right to carry that firearm as well. We call for the elimination of all gun-free zones. All federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall be invalid in Texas, not be recognized by Texas, shall be specifically rejected by Texas, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Texas. Firearms and ammunition manufactured and sold in the state of Texas are not covered under the Commerce Clause (Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution) and therefore are not subject to federal regulation.”
• “We urge that the Texas Legislature pass legislation to harden the Texas Electric Grid against: cyber attacks on the grid’s computerized command and control system, physical attacks on substations and major high voltage transformers, geomagnetic storms created by solar flares from the sun, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP).”
• “We believe a person who injures or kills an unborn child should be subject to criminal and civil litigation.”
• “We urge the Legislature to abolish civil asset forfeiture and to ensure private property only be forfeited upon a criminal conviction.”
• “We believe no extraordinary medical care such as sex-change operations, hormonal medications, or gender-altering therapies should be provided to prisoners at the expense of the taxpayers.”
• “We support the return to the precious metal standard for the United States dollar. ”
• “We support the repeal of the Community Reinvestment Act. ”
• “We urge the Texas Legislature to abolish the Event Trust Funds and the Texas Enterprise Fund. ”
• “We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed. ”
• “We encourage free-market solutions for providing utilities whenever possible. We support that all types of insurance rates, to include (but not limited to) health, life, title, auto, and homeowner’s insurance should be set through free-market forces alone. We support efforts to shrink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to reduce the liabilities it imposes on state taxpayers.”
• “We support allowing consumers in Texas to be able to purchase cars directly from manufacturers. ”
• “We support legislative solutions to regulatory barriers for transportation entrepreneurship, to allow ride-sharing companies to compete openly for business in our state. ”
• “We oppose the use of women in military combat units. ”
• “We strongly encourage the federal government and NASA to work with American citizens and American businesses to research and develop a new vehicle to continue human space flight and maintain America’s leadership in space exploration. ”
• “We support building a high wall with a wide gate in order to prevent illicit border crossings without preventing legal border crossings as one part of a complete border security plan. The wall will only be built where it is deemed effective and cost-efficient. ”
• “Any form of amnesty with regard to immigration policy should not be granted, including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally. ”
After 32 pages of those and other planks, the convention passed a platform that urges the next Texas Legislature to put these five things on its to-do list:
“1. Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes.
“2. Abolish abortion by enacting legislation to stop the murder of unborn children; and to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life.
“3. Prioritize the allocation of funds to effectively secure the border through whatever means necessary, including but not limited to barriers, personnel, and technology over land, sea, and air, because the federal government refuses to secure the southern border of Texas.
“4. Call for a limited Article V convention of states for the specific purpose of restricting the power of the federal government, including the implementation of term limits, and balanced budget amendment. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by 3⁄4 of the states.
“5. And to replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.”
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/05/15/analysis-texas-republicans-their-own-words/.