Representative Phil King’s 84th Legislative Session Update

This week marked an important juncture in the 84th Legislative Session and also one of the busiest days yet. The House advanced legislation that will further secure our border, and the State & Federal Power & Responsibility Committee continued to look at ways to rein in the federal government.

Bill Filing Deadline

Friday was the last day to file bills in both the House and the Senate. Historically this is one of the busiest days of any session, this year being no different. Nearly 1,000 bills were filed last Friday alone! This single day surge of bill filings represents about 15% of all the bills filed this session.

House Leads On Border Security

Department of Public Safety officers patrol the border

The House made significant advances on a long-term plan to secure our southern border this week. This plan would add 250 state police officials on the border, strengthen anti-smuggling laws, and create new southbound vehicle checkpoints. I strongly favor a long-range plan that allows the Department of Public Safety to boost their manpower and patrols along the border. Protecting Texans and securing the border will continue to be a top priority for the House.

Curbing Federal Power

I am proud to be the Chairman of the Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility, which is charged with examining the effects of the federal government’s spending and actions on Texas. Our committee met for nearly 6 hours this week to evaluate how Texas can push back against an ever-growing federal government.

The 10th Amendment is a viable option in many cases where the federal government exceeds its legal authority. I am a Joint Author on House Bill (HB) 98 otherwise known as the Texas Balance of Powers Act. This bill was the first bill our committee heard this session and gives statutory authority and direction to the Legislature to curb constitutional abuses by federal government under the 10th Amendment.

With the national debt ballooning to over $18 trillion and likely to reach $27 trillion by 2025, states are looking at ways to not only insulate themselves from the federal government but also look at what they can do to get our country back on the right fiscal path. Article V of the United States Constitution is a tool states are looking at to help pull our country back from the fiscal cliff. Alexander Hamilton wrote, “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against encroachment of the national authority.” Article V gives the states the power to address national problems when the federal government refuses to do so. The committee took up four pieces of legislation relating to Article V, and we heard from folks who traveled from as far as Lubbock to make their voice heard on this topic. You can watch a replay of the hearing by clicking here.

Office Visits

One of my favorite parts of each day is getting to visit with constituents and friends from home. If you are visiting the Capitol please don’t ever hesitate and stop by to say hello. My staff and I love hearing about issues that matter to you.

Meeting with the Ft. Worth Builder’s Association

God Bless,

Phil King

State Representative Phil King represents Parker and Wise counties in the Texas House of Representatives.

Pol. ad. paid for by Phil King.
Copyright © 2015 Phil King Campaign, All rights reserved.


One response

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    So, King – you want to “rein in federal power ”

    Then surely you must strongly support this bill-

    Legislation would Turn Off Water and Electric to San Antonio Facility

    A Texas legislator introduced a bill that would stop the independent Texas power grid from being used to power mass, warrantless surveillance by the NSA last week.

    Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R) introduced House Bill 3916 (HB3916) on March 13. The legislation would prohibit any political subdivision in Texas from providing water or electricity to any federal agency “involved in the routine surveillance or collection and storage of bulk telephone or e-mail records or related metadata concerning any citizen of the United States and that claims the legal authority to collect and store the bulk telephone or e-mail records or metadata concerning any citizen of the United States without the citizen’s consent or a search warrant that describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.”

    “No water and no electricity means no super-computers. That will shut down NSA operations in Texas. If Congress doesn’t want to reform the NSA then we’ll just turn it off,” OffNow founder and associate director Michael Boldin said.


    If passed, HB3916 would ultimately turn off water and electric service to the massive Texas Cryptologic Center in San Antonio.

    In 2006, the Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA had maxed out capacity of the Baltimore-area power grid via Baltimore Gas and Electric. Insiders reported that, “The NSA is already unable to install some costly and sophisticated new equipment. At minimum, the problem could produce disruptions leading to outages and power surges. At worst, it could force a virtual shutdown of the agency.”

    This, in part, led the NSA to expand to new locations in states such as Utah and Texas, to ensure that the agency could keep expanding its programs without the risk of shutting down due to lack of resources.

    A former Sony warehouse, just down the road from a new Microsoft data center, houses the San Antonio NSA facility. According to the Houston Chronicle, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a publicly traded company based in Maryland, owns the property and leases it to the NSA.

    The federal government keeps the Texas Cryptologic Center shrouded in secrecy. According to the Houston Chronicle story, “Longtime observers of the intelligence agency say they believe the San Antonio plant has a mission similar to the agency’s other new facilities in Georgia and Hawaii, where communications intercepted by NSA are translated and then sent to headquarters in Maryland for analysis.”

    “No longer able to store all the intercepted phone calls and e-mail in its secret city, the agency has now built a new data warehouse in San Antonio, Texas,” writes author James Bamford in the Shadow Factory, his third book about the NSA. “Costing, with renovations, upwards of $130 million, the 470,000-square-foot facility will be almost the size of the Alamo Dome. Considering how much data can now be squeezed onto a small flash drive, the new NSA building may eventually be able to hold all the information in the world.”

    City-owned CPS Energy provides electric service to the facility. According to the company website, it counts as the United States’ largest municipally owned utility company, with combined natural gas and electric service. It remains unclear exactly what entity supplies the center’s water, but the San Antonio Water System provides water service to most of San Antonio.

    Passage of HB3916 would prohibit both companies from supplying resources to the NSA facility.


    HB3916 rests on a rock-solid legal doctrine. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the principle that the states cannot be required to supply resources or manpower to help the federal government carry out its acts or programs.

    Known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, the legal principle rests primarily on four Supreme Court opinions dating back to 1842. In Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), Justice Joseph Story held that the federal government could not force states to implement or carry out the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. He said that it was a federal law, and the federal government ultimately had to enforce it.

    The fundamental principle applicable to all cases of this sort, would seem to be, that where the end is required, the means are given; and where the duty is enjoined, the ability to perform it is contemplated to exist on the part of the functionaries to whom it is entrusted. The clause is found in the national Constitution, and not in that of any state. It does not point out any state functionaries, or any state action to carry its provisions into effect. The states cannot, therefore, be compelled to enforce them; and it might well be deemed an unconstitutional exercise of the power of interpretation, to insist that the states are bound to provide means to carry into effect the duties of the national government, nowhere delegated or instrusted to them by the Constitution.

    Other key cases include New York v. United States (1992), Printz v. United States (1997), and Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012).

    “State governments are free to refrain from cooperating with federal authorities if they so choose. In general, states cannot attack federal operations, but that’s not the same as refusing to help,” Noted Constitutional scholar Randy Barnett of Georgetown Law said.


    In practice, HB3916 would prohibit state or local-owned utilities from supplying water or electric service to NSA facilities in the state. The bill does include a provision allowing for the municipality to repay any bonds payable from pledged revenue from water or electric service before discontinuing such service. A political subdivision would be able to fulfill any contractual obligations currently in place, but could not extend any contracts.

    Passage into law would be a powerful step towards ending the bulk, warrantless surveillance of all electronic communications.

    HB3916 will first be assigned to a House committee, where it will need to pass by majority vote to move forward.


    For Texas, follow the steps to support the bill at THIS LINK

    All other states, take action in your state at THIS LINK.

    The OffNow Project is an organization committed to stopping unconstitutional NSA spying and reining in the surveillance-state through state and local activism.

    You are all over this – right King ?

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