2015 Archives

Texas lawmakers to feds: Leave us alone


The following is from the Jan. 4, 2015, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

January 5, 2015

By Anna M. Tinsley

State lawmakers hope to send a clear message to the federal government this year: Don’t mess with Texas.

Already, more than a dozen bills have been filed to push back against what their sponsors say is a continued federal overreach.

Touching on issues from guns to the 10th Amendment, state lawmakers are calling on the federal government to do everything from repaying the costs Texas incurred for dealing with people illegally in the country to abolishing the income tax system.

“This is a recurring theme in Texas history, going all the way back to the early years of statehood,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “The Southern perspective is that the federal government is responsible for interstate commerce and foreign relations and states are in charge of everything inside the state’s borders.”

So several lawmakers have filed measures to limit the federal government’s ability to dictate what happens in Texas. . . .

Some political observers don’t predict success for many of the anti-Washington proposals.

“This is for posturing … and political advantage,” Jillson said. “They are for constituents back home.” . . . 

State Sen.-elect Don Huffines, R-Dallas, filed SB62, to let the state recover from the federal government all costs of dealing with people not lawfully in the United States.

Jillson isn’t sure how successful Texas will be with that.

“Texas sought to recover state expenditures for Indian fighting in the frontiers in the 1850s,” he said. “Texas said [the federal government] was responsible for Indian policy and control in the same way we talk about illegal immigration today.

“One hundred and sixty years of Texas saying, ‘We want our money back,’” Jillson said. “But Texas has done these things on its own, for its own reasons and at its own expense.”

Read the full story.


Find an Expert