June 26, 2020      4:30 PM
SB: In pandemic response, Gov. Abbott is finally liberated from certain agitators in the GOP
To casual observers the Empower Texans meltdown may have appeared as just another skirmish over Republican Party purification, but the policy point relevant to the lives of all Texans is that Abbott can now put distance between himself and some on the right including TPPF
In January of 2015, a
brand new governor gave
a speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, handing the group
led in part by Empower Texans Chairman Tim Dunn almost everything
they ever wanted in a chief executive by calling for the end of local control.
It was the opening salvo
in a conflict that’s raged to this day as cities and counties fought state
government for three sessions in a row to try to retain authority over
everything from tree pruning to plastic bag bans and fracking.
Since then, Gov. Greg
Abbott has been on a mission to consolidate power in Austin in a way not
even envisioned by his predecessor, Rick Perry. On the same day Abbott took
power from mayors and county judges to respond to coronavirus, former Gov. Perry
reminded radio listeners in West Texas that those officeholders have always been the
first line of defense for Texans weathering disasters.
But Abbott, who as
Attorney General years ago disapproved of then-Gov. Perry’s use of executive
orders because they lacked force of law, found in taking the Central Office
that when a disaster is first declared, executive powers seem limitless.
By Scott Braddock