State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, again asked Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session on same-sex marriage — this time regarding state agencies awarding benefits to same-sex couples.
Simpson, who’s running to replace state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, wrote in a letter this week that under the state’s constitution, the Legislature needs to sign off on any new spending, but that agencies have decided to allow those benefits following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“There is no question that the appropriations made by the Texas Legislature did not include benefits for same-sex partners,” Simpson wrote. “In fact, such benefits have been intentionally prohibited by state law. The SCOTUS has the authority to decide a case, but it has no authority to appropriate state funds, and anyone who expends state funds without an appropriation is in violation of state law.”
Simpson addressed his letter to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus and Attorney General Ken Paxton. He said if state agencies made those decisions in consultation with them, their “acquiescence in this matter is derelict.”
Gov. Greg Abbott, who made a concerted push last year to win Hispanic voters, is being careful when it comes to presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments about illegal immigration.
“One thing that he has done that a bunch of candidates have done is he has injected into the presidential race the need to talk about the border,” Abbott said during an interview Monday morning on Fox News.
"Now, listen, I disagree with some of the tenor of Donald Trump, but the fact is that he has pointed out a great frustration that Americans have, and that is Washington, D.C., has not done its job to secure the border.”
Since he entered the 2016 race last month, Trump has riled the GOP with strident denunciations of illegal immigration, characterizing people in the country unlawfully as rapists and killers. As a result, most of the Republican field has distanced themselves from the bombastic billionaire.
Abbott’s remarks Monday put him between fellow Texas Republicans Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. Perry, the former governor, has positioned himself as a leading voice in the GOP against Trump, saying his comments do not represent the party. On the other hand, Cruz, a senator, has been the lone presidential candidate offering a defense of Trump, arguing he is raising an important issue.
Abbott, according to exit polling by the Texas Politics Project, won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 2014 gubernatorial race after making an effort to attract Latino support. Throughout his campaign and since taking office, he has sought to balance that outreach with the image of a tough-on-the-border governor.
Abbott has a new tool in his efforts to lure businesses to Texas — a web video highlighting his trip to New York.
The video, released on Wednesday, includes footage of Abbott at the New York Stock Exchange and the recent Facebook groundbreaking in Fort Worth over audio of news coverage of his trip.