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  88R3527 TJB-F
 
  By: Hall S.B. No. 313
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the Texas Sovereignty Act.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  (a) This Act may be cited as the Texas
  Sovereignty Act.
         (b)  The legislature finds that:
               (1)  The people of the several states forming the
  United States of America created the federal government to be their
  agent for certain enumerated powers delegated by the states and the
  people to the federal government through the United States
  Constitution.
               (2)  The Tenth Amendment to the United States
  Constitution confirms the intent and understanding of the people of
  the United States that all powers not delegated to the United States
  by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the states, are reserved
  to the states respectively, or to the people.
               (3)  Each power delegated to the federal government by
  the United States Constitution is constitutionally limited to that
  power as it was understood and exercised at the time it was
  delegated.  An amendment to the Constitution as ratified by the
  states is required to expand or limit a constitutionally delegated
  power.
               (4)  The United States Constitution authorizes the
  United States Congress to exercise only those specific powers
  enumerated in Section 8, Article I, United States Constitution, and
  those other powers as may be delegated to Congress through
  amendments to the Constitution as ratified by the states.
               (5)  Article VI, United States Constitution, makes
  supreme the Constitution and federal laws enacted pursuant to the
  Constitution, further requiring that public officials at all levels
  and in all branches of government support the Constitution.
               (6)  The power delegated to the United States Congress
  to regulate commerce among the several states under Section 8,
  Article I, United States Constitution, is limited to federal
  regulation of actual commerce between the states and among foreign
  nations. Regulation of intrastate commerce is reserved to the
  states and to the people of the states. The Commerce Clause of the
  Constitution constrains the legislative, executive, and judicial
  branches of the federal government.
               (7)  The power delegated to the United States Congress
  to make all necessary and proper federal laws under Section 8,
  Article I, United States Constitution, allows Congress to enact
  only those laws necessary and proper to execute the
  constitutionally delegated powers vested in the federal
  government, all other powers being reserved to the states and to the
  people of the states.
               (8)  The power delegated to the United States Congress
  to provide for the general welfare of the United States under
  Section 8, Article I, United States Constitution, in the General
  Welfare Clause constitutionally constrains Congress when
  exercising a delegated power to act in a manner that serves the
  states and the people of the states well and uniformly.
               (9)  Sections 1 and 2, Article I, Texas Constitution,
  provide that this state and the people of this state retain the
  sovereign power to regulate the affairs of Texas, subject only to
  the United States Constitution.
         (c)  The federal government does not have the power to take
  any legislative, executive, or judicial action that violates the
  United States Constitution.
         (d)  The contract with the State of Texas has been willfully
  violated by the federal government and must be constitutionally
  restored.
         (e)  This Act calls on all officials in federal, state, and
  local government, in all branches and at all levels, to honor their
  oaths to preserve, protect, and defend the United States
  Constitution and its ratified amendments against any federal action
  that:
               (1)  would unconstitutionally undermine, diminish, or
  disregard the balance of powers between the sovereign states and
  the federal government established by the United States
  Constitution and its ratified amendments; or
               (2)  is outside the scope of the power delegated to the
  federal government by the United States Constitution.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle Z, Title 3, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 394 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 394.  ENFORCEMENT OF UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
         Sec. 394.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Committee" means the Joint Legislative Committee
  on Constitutional Enforcement.
               (2)  "Federal action" includes:
                     (A)  a federal law;
                     (B)  a federal agency rule, policy, or standard;
                     (C)  an executive order of the president of the
  United States;
                     (D)  an order or decision of a federal court; and
                     (E)  the making or enforcing of a treaty.
               (3)  "Unconstitutional federal action" means a federal
  action enacted, adopted, or implemented without authority
  specifically delegated to the federal government by the people and
  the states through the United States Constitution.
         Sec. 394.002.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON
  CONSTITUTIONAL ENFORCEMENT. (a)  The Joint Legislative Committee
  on Constitutional Enforcement is established as a permanent joint
  committee of the legislature.  The committee is established to
  review federal actions that challenge the sovereignty of the state
  and of the people for the purpose of determining if the federal
  action is unconstitutional.
         (b)  The committee consists of the following 12 members:
               (1)  six members of the house of representatives
  appointed by the speaker of the house; and
               (2)  six members of the senate appointed by the
  lieutenant governor.
         (c)  Not more than four house members of the committee may be
  members of the same political party. Not more than four senate
  members of the committee may be members of the same political party.
         (d)  Members of the committee serve two-year terms beginning
  with the convening of each regular legislative session.
         (e)  If a vacancy occurs on the committee, the appropriate
  appointing officer shall appoint a member of the house or senate, as
  appropriate, to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
         (f)  The speaker of the house and the lieutenant governor
  shall each designate one member of the committee as a joint chair of
  the committee. 
         (g)  The committee shall meet at the call of either joint
  chair.
         (h)  A majority of the members of the committee constitute a
  quorum.
         Sec. 394.003.  COMMITTEE REVIEW OF FEDERAL ACTION. (a)  The
  committee may review any federal action to determine whether the
  action is an unconstitutional federal action.
         (b)  When reviewing a federal action, the committee shall
  consider the plain reading and reasoning of the text of the United
  States Constitution and the understood definitions at the time of
  the framing and construction of the Constitution by our forefathers
  before making a final declaration of constitutionality, as
  demonstrated by:
               (1)  the ratifying debates in the several states;
               (2)  the understanding of the leading participants at
  the constitutional convention;
               (3)  the understanding of the doctrine in question by
  the constitutions of the several states in existence at the time the
  United States Constitution was adopted;
               (4)  the understanding of the United States
  Constitution by the first United States Congress;
               (5)  the opinions of the first chief justice of the
  United States Supreme Court;
               (6)  the background understanding of the doctrine in
  question under the English Constitution of the time; and
               (7)  the statements of support for natural law and
  natural rights by the framers and the philosophers admired by the
  framers.
         (c)  Not later than the 180th day after the date the
  committee holds its first public hearing to review a specific
  federal action, the committee shall vote to determine whether the
  action is an unconstitutional federal action.
         (d)  The committee may determine that a federal action is an
  unconstitutional federal action by majority vote.
         (e)  The committee shall submit each determination that a
  federal action is an unconstitutional federal action to the Supreme
  Court of Texas for review.  The Supreme Court of Texas shall review
  the determination and make a written finding as to whether the
  federal action is an unconstitutional federal action.  The Supreme
  Court of Texas shall provide the written finding to the committee
  not later than the 30th day after the date the committee's
  determination is submitted to the court.
         Sec. 394.004.  LEGISLATIVE DETERMINATION. (a) If the
  supreme court finds under Section 394.003(e) that a federal action
  is an unconstitutional federal action, the committee shall report
  the finding to the house of representatives and to the senate
  during:
               (1)  the current session of the legislature if the
  legislature is convened when the supreme court makes the finding;
  or 
               (2)  the next regular or special session of the
  legislature if the legislature is not convened when the supreme
  court makes the finding.
         (b)  Each house of the legislature shall vote on whether the
  federal action is an unconstitutional federal action.  If a
  majority of the members of each house determine that the federal
  action is an unconstitutional federal action, the determination
  shall be sent to the governor for approval or disapproval as
  provided by Section 14, Article IV, Texas Constitution, regarding
  bills. 
         (c)  A federal action is declared by the state to be an
  unconstitutional federal action on the day:
               (1)  the governor approves the vote of the legislature
  making the determination; or
               (2)  the determination would become law if presented to
  the governor as a bill and not objected to by the governor.
         (d)  The secretary of state shall forward official copies of
  the declaration to the president of the United States, to the
  speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the
  Senate of the Congress of the United States, and to all members of
  the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that the
  declaration of unconstitutional federal action be entered in the
  Congressional Record.
         Sec. 394.005.  OTHER DETERMINATIONS OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL
  FEDERAL ACTS. (a) This chapter does not limit or alter the
  authority of the governor, the attorney general, a statewide
  elected official, a state or federal court, a judge or justice, a
  state or local appointed or elected official, or the governing body
  of a political subdivision of this state to issue a verbal or
  written opinion determining a federal action to be
  unconstitutional.
         (b)  An opinion issued under Subsection (a) may be referred
  to the committee for review under this chapter.
         Sec. 394.006.  EFFECT OF DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL FEDERAL
  ACTION. (a) A federal action declared to be an unconstitutional
  federal action under Section 394.004 has no legal effect in this
  state and may not be recognized by this state or a political
  subdivision of this state as having legal effect.
         (b)  The state and a political subdivision of the state may
  not spend public money or resources or incur public debt to
  implement or enforce a federal action declared to be an
  unconstitutional federal action.
         (c)  A person authorized to enforce the laws of this state
  may enforce those laws, including Section 39.03, Penal Code,
  against a person who attempts to implement or enforce a federal
  action declared to be an unconstitutional federal action.
         (d)  This chapter does not prohibit a public officer who has
  taken an oath to defend the United States Constitution from
  interposing to stop acts of the federal government which, in the
  officer's best understanding and judgment, violate the United
  States Constitution.
         (e)  Texas officials in federal, state, and local government
  shall honor their oaths to preserve, protect, and defend the United
  States Constitution and shall act to constitutionally defend this
  state and the people of this state.
         Sec. 394.007.  AUTHORITY OF ATTORNEY GENERAL.  (a)  The
  attorney general may defend the state to prevent the implementation
  and enforcement of a federal action declared to be an
  unconstitutional federal action.
         (b)  The attorney general may prosecute a person who attempts
  to implement or enforce a federal action declared to be an
  unconstitutional federal action using Section 39.03, Penal Code, or
  another provision of law.
         (c)  The attorney general may appear before a grand jury in
  connection with an offense the attorney general is authorized to
  prosecute under Subsection (b).
         (d)  The authority to prosecute prescribed by this chapter
  does not affect the authority derived from other law to prosecute
  the same offenses.
         SECTION 3.  Chapter 37, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is
  amended by adding Section 37.0056 to read as follows:
         Sec. 37.0056.  DECLARATIONS RELATING TO UNCONSTITUTIONAL
  ACTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. (a)  In this section, "federal
  action" and "unconstitutional federal action" have the meanings
  assigned by Section 394.001, Government Code.
         (b)  Any court in this state has original jurisdiction of a
  proceeding seeking a declaratory judgment that a federal action
  effective in this state is an unconstitutional federal action.
         (c)  A person is entitled to declaratory relief if the court
  determines that a federal action is an unconstitutional federal
  action.
         (d)  In determining whether to grant declaratory relief to a
  person under this section, a court:
               (1)  may not rely solely on the decisions of other
  courts interpreting the United States Constitution; and
               (2)  must rely on the plain meaning of the text of the
  United States Constitution and any applicable constitutional
  doctrine as understood by the framers of the constitution.
         (e)  Section 37.008 does not apply to relief sought under
  this section.
         SECTION 4.  (a)  Not later than the 30th day following the
  effective date of this Act:
               (1)  the speaker of the house of representatives and
  the lieutenant governor shall appoint the initial members of the
  Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Enforcement
  established under Section 394.002, Government Code, as added by
  this Act; and
               (2)  the secretary of state shall forward official
  copies of this Act to the president of the United States, to the
  speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the
  Senate of the Congress of the United States, and to all members of
  the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that this Act be
  officially entered in the Congressional Record.
         (b)  Not later than the 45th day following the effective date
  of this Act, the speaker of the house of representatives and the
  lieutenant governor shall forward official copies of this Act to
  the presiding officers of the legislatures of the several states.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2023.