Gov. Greg Abbot (R-TX) had a stellar opening week of June. With few exceptions, the governor lived up to his state’s reputation for defending freedom.
In a series of tweets last week that ended up going viral, Abbott announced that he had signed legislation that would protect free speech rights on college campuses, ban red light cameras, and allow people to have beer delivered to their homes.
On June 1, Abbott tweeted a video of himself signing the red-light camera ban, saying, “I’m about to sign this bill that bans red light cameras in Texas,” before signing the document in front of him.
“Is now law,” he says as he shows the finished, signed bill to the camera.
The National Motorists Association collected a list of reports and studies that show red-light cameras actually increase accidents. The cameras have also been argued as unconstitutional, since citizens are essentially accused of crimes without being able to confront their accuser (the camera, which may be faulty or calibrated improperly).
Two days later, Abbott posted another tweet, this time of him signing a law that would allow Texas citizens to “order beer and wine from retailers to be delivered to your home.”
“Enjoy responsibly,” he added.
On June 9, Abbott posted another video of himself signing a law — this time in an effort to protect the First Amendment on college campuses.
“Some colleges are banning free speech on college campuses,” Abbott said in the video. “Well, no more because I’m about to sign a law that protects free speech on college campuses in Texas.”
“Shouldn’t have to do it,” he added after signing the bill. “The First Amendment guarantees it. Now, it’s law in Texas.”
In addition to these bills, Abbott also signed laws directed at reducing the rape kit backlog in the state and expanding access to mental health resources. Not everything he signed last week was seen as an expansion of freedom, however.
On Friday, Abbott signed a bill that increases the purchase age of tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes — from 18 to 21. Those in the military are exempted from the law. As CBS Austin reported, supporters of the bill said it would “save lives because 95 percent of smokers start before age 21, and three fourths of adult smokers try their first cigarette before their 18th birthday.”
So now those statistics will just shift until 21. Supporters also failed to note that one does not have to personally purchase cigarettes in order to get their hands on one before they are legally able to purchase.