The Back MicThe Back Mic: Lawmakers Butt Heads on Property Rights, Democrat Votes for Police Defunding Bill Listed, Abbott Says Border Security Will Cost Texas $1 Billion

This week — property rights at center of Texas House exchange, 10 Democrats vote for police "defunding" punishment, Abbott warns of border security cost.
May 7, 2021

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Tempers Flare on Property Rights Questions

Reps. Ben Leman (R-Iola) and Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) squared off twice on Wednesday, each time over issues pertaining to property rights. The first bill, authored by Leman, would prohibit the owner of property in operating or negotiating an “easement” — a negotiated right to cross a piece of land — from forbidding the carrying of firearms as part of the terms.

“The purpose of this bill is to ensure that an individual can access their property and carry a firearm or alcohol to their property through the easement,” Leman said.

Canales objected, stating, “In your example, if I sell an easement, you’re now saying that I don’t have the right to dictate the terms of that easement across my land.”

“It’s my land! Imagine that!”

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Leman countered, saying, “This is about the Second Amendment and your right to defend yourself — in your home, in your own private property.”

“No, what you’re doing is telling Texans they can’t negotiate the own terms of their agreement,” Canales fired back, adding, “and this is a slippery slope! It’s my easement — I’m selling it — you don’t like it don’t buy it.”

The two squared off again on a later bill pertaining to property first commandeered through eminent domain but for which the project fell through. Canales and Leman’s conversation raises a real-life example of a classic philosophical debate: what to do when two rights — in this case, property rights versus the right to bear arms — conflict with one another.

Democratic Votes for Police Defunding Bill

The Texas House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would punish cities for “defunding” their police departments — classified as cutting the department budget from one year to the next. The prohibition, however, applies only to cities above 250,000 in population which comes out to 11 Texas municipalities. Under the proposal, the state can freeze property taxes or require any annexation done in the last 30 years to be revisited.

Every Republican voted in favor, but 10 Democratic members voted in the unofficial tally for the bill. They are listed below:

  • Terry Canales (D-Edinburg)
  • Bobby Guerra (D-Mission)
  • Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City)
  • Abel Herrero (D-Robstown)
  • Tracy King (D-Batesville)
  • Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco)
  • Eddie Morales (D-Eagle Pass)
  • Sergio Muñoz (D-Palmview)
  • Victoria Neave (D-Dallas)
  • Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo)
Border Security Will Cost Over $1 Billion, Abbott Says

In an interview on Fox News, Governor Greg Abbott remarked on the need for a secure border and admonished the federal government, and the Biden White House, for failing to pay for border security.

“Our state legislature allocate[s] about $800 million every two years [for border security]. And this year because of the extended time we’ll have the National Guard on the border, it will clearly exceed $1 billion for the state to have to secure the United States of America,” Abbott said.

He concluded, “I want to have Texas secure the border and have the Biden administration pay for it.”

Illegal border crossings have exploded this fiscal year and President Biden halted construction of the border wall as one of his first executive orders on Inauguration Day. Back in March, Texas sent the National Guard to its southern border with “Operation Lone Star” to curtail border crossings.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.