It’s a day ending in y and that means Texas Republicans are up to it again…. (More)
I get that Texans are big on state pride. They do everything bigger there. For example, last month the Texas Star Nut and Food Company recalled lots of macadamias when the Food and Drug Administration found salmonella in some lots. The next day the Texas Pecan Company joined in and recalled most of their macadamias, in case they were contaminated too.
But you can take state pride too far.
Texas lawmakers are gearing up to pass one of the country’s most aggressively anti-same-sex-marriage bills this week. The bill, HB 4105, would prohibit state and local governments from recognizing, granting or enforcing same-sex marriage licenses. More than half of the members of Texas’ House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors to the bill, making its passage in that chamber likely before the Thursday deadline the House has for House bills to be heard on the House floor.
The measure’s sponsors say it is a pre-emptive move ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected in June that could legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
“We as Texans have a sovereign right to define and regulate marriage,” Republican state Rep. Cecil Bell, the author of the bill, told TPM on Tuesday. “I don’t believe that this bill puts anyone in a lesser position than what they were in before. What this does is codify Texas law.”
Obviously, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Equal Protection Clause requires marriage equality, then any state law that says otherwise will be overturned. Because no matter what Ben Carson says, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the U.S. Constitution to trump state laws since 1819. And in case someone says the Framers never wanted the Supreme Court to do that, the opinion in McColloch v. Maryland was written by a delegate to the Virginia Convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that John Marshall knew more about what the Framers intended than Ben Carson or any current Texas legislator. Just sayin’.
But those Texas lawmakers weren’t done. They also passed a bill to require a special label on the insurance cards of people who bought insurance through the Affordable Care Act:
The Texas state House on Monday passed a bill that would add a label to the insurance cards of individuals who purchased health insurance plans via an exchange established through Obamacare.
After the bill cleared an initial vote in the House last week, legislators voted 129-8 to approve the bill in a final vote on Monday, according to the Texas House clerk’s office.
House Bill 1514, sponsored by Republican state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, would add the label “QHP” to the cards of individuals who purchased plans through the exchange, and “QHP-S” for those who receive subsidies.
That bill’s sponsors say the label will cue doctors to remind patients to keep paying their health insurance premiums. Yeah, sure:
“Other than creating a group that you’re going to discriminate against, I don’t see any purpose for indicating that people are getting a subsidy,” said Jose E. Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers.
Jamie Dudensing, chief executive of the Texas Association of Health Plans, which lobbies on behalf of several major insurers, said recently that she was similarly worried the bill could create a “scarlet letter” effect where some doctors could decide not to see a patient they learned to be on an “Obamacare” plan.
“Right now, providers are not really supposed to be discriminating against consumers if they have a contract with a health plan,” Dudensing said this week at an event hosted by The Texas Tribune, adding that insurers were “very concerned” about the bill.
Supporters of the legislation said the proper analogy is not school desegregation but abortion rights. Abortion has been legal since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark Texas case, Roe v. Wade. In recent years, however, conservative lawmakers have enacted a slew of bills that have reduced access to the procedure – for example, by requiring clinics to be built to expensive hospital-like standards or putting restrictions on the use of abortion-inducing drugs.
Many of these measures have been challenged in the courts, with mixed results, and some are likely to end up before the Supreme Court. But in Texas, they have already contributed to the closure of more than half of the roughly 40 clinics operating in the state just two years ago, according to the Texas ACLU.
“Texas, above all states, has … done everything we can to eliminate abortion,” even as it remains technically legal, said Steven Hotze, president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, a political action committee that pushed for the same-sex-marriage bill.
Their ‘scarlet letter’ bill to label people who buy health insurance through the ACA applies the same strategy, which boils down to this: the U.S. Constitution and federal laws may give people these rights, but we’ll do whatever we can to block people from using those rights here in Texas.
So maybe the real reason Texans are so terrified about the military training operation JADE HELM 15 has nothing to do with noise or wildfires or accidents or overpolicing. Maybe it’s that Texas Republicans are pushing an agenda of de facto secession … and they know sooner or later the federal courts will step in and say “Y’know, the U.S. Constitution and federal laws apply in Texas too.”
Good day and good nuts