Opinion

Texas Lawmakers: California Can Keep The Bureaucrats, We’ll Take The Jobs

Taxpayers and businesses have been leaving the “golden state” for years, but California is now going to extremes to stop the bleeding, banning taxpayer-funded travel to states with anti-LGBT laws — coincidentally, the same states with jobs.

Like the Eagles’ song “Hotel California,” its citizens can “check out, but they can never leave.”

Texas lawmakers are mounting a response, vowing to protect the right of all Americans to go wherever they want, without restriction. Calling themselves the Texas Freedom Caucus, the group notably forced liberal leadership in the Texas House to come to the table on issues conservatives care about over Mother’s Day weekend — killing over a hundred bills.

“Banning travel to Texas because we passed a foster care reform law that is more inclusive, not less? It’s bizarre and disturbing. Texas strengthened religious freedom in a way that will attract more faith-based organizations to care for kids. California officials view this issue exactly backwards,” state Rep. Matt Schaefer, chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus, told me.

State Rep. Briscoe Cain, ranked the “most conservative” state legislator in Texas and the attorney defending David Daleiden (who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts), promised to support legal action to protect freedom of movement in America.

“California needs a wall to keep its own citizens from leaving. But why build a wall when tax dollars support most of the economy in the ‘golden state’?” Cain asked rhetorically.

“This is a sad day for freedom in America, when people are told they cannot come and go as they please.,” he continued, adding, “I’ll support legal action to protect freedom of movement for Americans everywhere.”

“To any Californians seeking to escape tyranny, you have a home here in Texas,” Cain said to me.

Other members of the Texas Freedom Caucus side with Cain.

“Liberals in California continue to abuse the power of government for the radical infringement of personal liberties,” wrote Texas Republican state Rep. Matt Shaheen in an email, Wednesday, July 3. “This abuse of power, coupled with their failed social and economic policies will result in the continued departure of businesses, people and capital from their state,” he added.

Republican state Rep. Mike Lang was more blunt in his comments to me. “We will take their jobs; they can have their bureaucrats,” Lang thundered.

Lang is not out of left field. California is sending everything to Texas: its factories, its wealth, its entrepreneurs, and its Republican voters.

Between 2008 and 2014, 500,000 people and 47 businesses relocated from California to Texas. It seems Californians are fleeing the “golden state” in droves for the South. And until now, California seemed apathetic about its people problem.

That changed Thursday, June 22, when California added Texas to an expanding “travel ban” targeting states with anti-LGBT laws.

California is now overturning centuries of Supreme Court case law protecting freedom of movement for U.S. citizens, and that’s not even the most disturbing part.

Although many are treating this as a joke, and as a symbolic “resistance” move by California, some serious implications are escaping notice. Under its new rule, California declares that anyone tax revenue touches can have their most basic right to come and go as they please cancelled.

Under Chapter 687, Section 11139.8, the law bans any “state-funded or state-sponsored travel” to a state on its naughty list. Potentially, anyone receiving tax dollars for any purpose might eventually fall under the state’s overly broad and flexibly-worded “travel ban” — not just state employees.

Such a possibility is not far-fetched. Remember the national debate over “prayer in school”? Once upon a time, the political left maintained that only public schools would be required to end public prayer. Now, any schools receiving federal tax dollars (including private colleges and charter schools) face legal challenge — in spite of being overtly religious institutions.

In twisted California logic, the right to travel across state lines can be regulated the same way.

A brief history of “freedom of movement” rulings by the Supreme Court appears to contradict California’s creative legal maneuvering:

Corfield v. Coryell establishes freedom of movement as a fundamental human right.

Paul v. Virginia defines freedom of movement as the “right of free ingress into other States, and egress from them.”

U.S. v. Wheeler declares that freedom of movement falls under the “privileges and immunities” clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits any state from discriminating against the citizens of other states.

U.S. v. Guest incorporates freedom of movement and gives the federal government power to actively protect the right on the same level as free speech.

Saenz v. Roe reaffirms a right to travel and clearly prohibits any state laws aimed at preventing entry or exit by persons inside or outside state.

On freedom of movement, venerable Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said:

The right to travel is a part of the ‘liberty’ of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. If that ‘liberty’ is to be regulated, it must be pursuant to the law-making functions of the Congress.