Former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm penned a fantastic letter last week addressed to every member of the Texas Legislature, encouraging lawmakers to finally bring an end forced annexation. Here’s an excerpt from the memo:
“The Texas Legislature appears to be on the verge of ending forced annexation. I want to applaud you for your work thus far and encourage you to complete the task fully to protect Texans’ rights to self-determination, free association, and private property.
The reason that your leadership on this issue is so important is simple. Right now, Texans do not have the right to decide who governs them. Instead city governance is imposed upon them by people they didn’t elect, to pay off debt they did not run up, and to fund programs they do not support. Forced annexation is the modern day equivalent of taxation without representation.” [emphasis added]
That an egregious policy like forced annexation exists in the liberty-lovin’ Lone Star State is a bit surprising, but it may not be the law of the land for long, as alluded to in Senator Gramm’s opening. Senate Bill 715, the Texas Annexation Reform Act, is on the Senate’s Intent Calendar meaning that it could be debated by the full body today, while the House’s Land & Resource Management committee has already taken testimony on three reform bills— House Bills 299, 424, and 2272—and is expected to, hopefully, advance one or more of them soon.
With conservatives closing in on reform, it’s important to remember why this kind of legislation is needed. In the words of Senator Gramm, “these bills affirm everything we, as Texans, stand for—we support the rights of people not the designs of government, we oppose wealth redistribution, and we believe in the right of people to have a say about where and how they live.”