The Llano County Republican Party has joined with counterparts in two other counties in passing a formal resolution censuring Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for the executive orders he has issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LCRP executive committee members met Wednesday, July 8, and adopted the resolution with more than two-thirds of those present voting in favor of the measure, joining Montgomery and Ector counties, which adopted similar resolutions earlier this week.
LCRP chairman Doug Sanders, who was recently named the chairman of the Senate District 24 Caucus (see story, page 2), said members of the executive committee decided they needed to stand on principle, even if it meant bucking the state’s top elected Republican officeholder.
“We don’t see this as divisive at all,” Sanders said. “We are following a procedure sanctioned by the Republican Party of Texas to publicly let it be known to Republican officeholders who violate three or more core prinicples of party that is unacceptable to us. We are trying to send a message to all Republican officeholders who the county parties don’t feel are abiding by our core principles.”
Party officials took the action not long after Abbott’s most recent executive order, GA-29, which requires Texans in most public places to wear masks.
Other executive orders issued by Abbott in an attempt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals to suspend elective surgeries, ordered Texans to stay at home in April except for “essential activities,” and shut down certain businesses, although most have been reopened within the past month.
Sanders said Rule 44 of the RPT’s rules specifically provides that a Republican Executive Committee may vote to censure a Republican public official if that official takes three or more actions in opposition to the core principles of the RPT, as defined in the preamble of the party platform.
“I think Governor Abbott is a good man and has a tough job to do given the current virus situation, but as recognized by our Texas Supreme Court, there is no pandemic exception to our Constitution,” Sanders said.
“As set forth in our resolution, Governor Abbott’s unilateral executive orders clearly violate our Constitution, violate at least five of the RPT’s core principles as set forth in the Preamble of the RPT platform, and are illegal.”
The resolution claims Abbott’s executive orders, which party officials claimed violated the separation of powers clause in the Texas Constitution, “resulted in the denial of due process to millions of Texans, constituted takings without just compensation by closing businesses without just cause, denied the people the right to freedom of assembly, and imposed onerous mandates, fines, and imprisonment upon the people.”
Abbott was also castigated for limiting “the ability of local hospitals and medical providers to determine the appropriate manner in which to operate, and mandated how people should conduct their personal interactions against their will” and “abruptly and ruthlessly closing private businesses causing millions of Texans to face unemployment, treating certain people as ‘unessential,’ further harassing small business owners with bureaucratic regulators, and devastating the Texas economy.”
Abbott has defended his actions as necessary to try to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus in a state that has been hit hard recently. Texas is now one of the nation’s epicenters for the virus as COVID-19 cases have surged in the past two weeks.
Sanders said the resolution will be forwarded to the State Republican Party Convention, which had been scheduled to meet in Houston this week. According to Sanders, if
According to Sanders, if a majority of the delegates at the state convention vote to concur with the resolution of censure, they may also declare that any bylaw requiring “party neutrality” in the Republican primary shall not be observed and any financial support by the RPT to the candidate shall not be provided.
“Llano County is strongly conservative and truly believes in our Constitution and its tenets are worth standing up for,” Sanders said. “I wish no ill will to our governor, but he must stand with us for our Constitution and rescind his illegal executive orders.”