Paxton sues multiple school districts over mask mandates and other Texas AG news

Staff Report

The responsibilities, of the Office of the Attorney General, are to serve as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issue legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies, and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes.

The Texas AG sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.

Many Texans look to the Office of the Attorney General for guidance with disputes and legal issues. The agency receives hundreds of letters, phone calls, and visits each week about crime victims’ compensation, child support, abuse in nursing homes, possible consumer fraud, and other topics.

To find out more about the Texas Attorney General, visit the official website at

Paxton Secures Temporary Restraining Order Against Paris ISD in Mask Mandate Lawsuit

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that a Lamar County district court issued a temporary restraining order against Paris ISD regarding its unlawful mask mandate.

The court agreed with General Paxton that the district lacks “authority to issue or enforce a facemask mandate in light of Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-38” and prohibited the district from enforcing its mandate as long as GA-38 remains in effect.

This is the second recent win for the rule of law in Texas after the Fort Worth Court of Appeals reinstated a temporary injunction against Fort Worth ISD’s mask mandate.

“The law is clear, and this superintendent knows this, yet he has no issue continuing to waste precious state resources on impossible lawsuits instead of providing for his students,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This temporary restraining order is just the first step in restoring order to our great state and ending this disruption from rogue local officials.”

Read the temporary restraining order here.

Attorney General Paxton Joins 23-States to Combat Federal Takeover of States’ Elections

AUSTIN – In a letter to congressional leaders, Attorney General Ken Paxton and 22 other attorneys general warn that a reckless piece of legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill would essentially establish the U.S. Department of Justice as a national election czar dictating to states exactly how they must administer their elections.

The letter opposing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — or HR 4 — is led by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.

Already passed in the House, the legislation would require states to first obtain “preclearance” from the federal government before enacting election reforms such as voter identification requirements and voter list maintenance laws.

“After fighting long and hard to pass Texas’s SB 1, which helps stop voter fraud and increase public trust in our elections, I refuse to sit back and allow voters in the great state of Texas to be silenced,” said Attorney General Paxton. “HR 4 undermines the integrity of our elections, ignores the countless issues with voter fraud, and I am committed to stopping this misguided proposal.”

SB 1 was passed during the last special legislative session and will be in effect for the 2022 primary elections.

To read the letter click here.

Paxton Sues San Antonio ISD for Employee Vaccine Mandate

AUSTIN –Attorney General Paxton has filed a lawsuit against the San Antonio Independent School District and Superintendent Pedro Martinez for mandating that all district employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This mandate violates Executive Order GA-39, which Governor Abbott implemented to prohibit governmental entities like San Antonio ISD from compelling individuals to be injected with a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether the vaccine is fully approved or authorized for emergency use only.

“The decision to openly violate state law and devote district resources to defending Superintendent Martinez’s unlawful actions is irresponsible,” Attorney General Paxton said. “But if school districts decide to use their limited funding to try to get away with breaking the law, my office will oppose them and uphold the rule of law in Texas.”

To view a copy of the lawsuit, click here.

Paxton Files Multiple Lawsuits Against School Districts Defying State Law

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the filing today of three lawsuits against three school districts defying Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-38 regarding mask mandates: Richardson, Round Rock, Galveston, Elgin, Spring and Sherman Independent School Districts.

In the 2021-2022 school year, several school districts across the state have refused to follow state law — the Texas Disaster Act and Executive Order GA-38 – which place the Governor in charge of the statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Office of the Attorney General anticipates the filing of additional lawsuits if school districts and other governmental entities continue to defy state law.

“Not only are superintendents across Texas openly violating state law, but they are using district resources—that ought to be used for teacher merit raises or other educational benefits—to defend their unlawful political maneuvering,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “If districts choose to spend their money on legal fees, they must do so knowing that my office is ready and willing to litigate these cases. I have full confidence that the courts will side with the law – not acts of political defiance.”

To view a list of schools not in compliance with GA-38, click here

Paxton Joins Coalition to Stop the ATF from Infringing on Second Amendment Rights

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a multistate coalition that filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court, seeking to stop the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from re-interpreting federal statutes in order to declare that owning or using a “bump stock” turns a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun, subjecting the owner to criminal prosecution.

The brief argues that thousands of Americans have lawfully purchased and owned these accessories for years and use them for lawful purposes and that the ATF’s revised interpretation will cause far-reaching consequences and restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms.

“The ATF has completely overreached by reversing its nearly two-decades-old opinion on this matter, leaving many responsible gun owners vulnerable to prosecution on accessories that were legally purchased,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This federal organization has no right to use their power to unconstitutionally restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”

Read the Amicus Brief here.  

AG Paxton Joins Multi-State Coalition in Defending Religious Liberty

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has joined a multi-state amicus brief in support of religious liberty in a Virginia case, arguing that the City of Fredericksburg violated the First Amendment when it denied a property tax exemption to a residence owned by a church and occupied by two of its pastors.

Contrary to long-standing constitutional doctrine that protects religious entities from judicial intrusion, the Virginia court dismissed the church’s theological assessment of its doctrine and substituted its own, in concluding that the pastors did not count as “ministers.”

“The Virginia court refused a religious organization’s tax exemption by taking the law into its own hands, and the First Amendment prohibits this kind of governmental interference in faith and religion,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Courts cannot refuse to acknowledge religious liberties when the facts and the Constitution specifically support them.”

Read the full of Amicus Brief here.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0400-KP
Authority of a district attorney to represent the State in litigation over an emergency protective order under Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.292 issued by a municipal judge sitting as a magistrate

Official Opinion Summary KP-0385
Authority of district attorney to represent State in municipal court in litigation pertaining to Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.292 emergency protective order

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0432-KP
Whether an executive order is enforceable as a “law” under subsection 1.07(a)(30) of the Penal Code

Date Received
Friday, September 10, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Dee Hobbs
Williamson County Attorney
405 M.L.K. Street,
Georgetown, Texas 78626

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0431-KP
Proper method for distribution of Coronavirus Relief Funds in a jurisdiction with a population under 500,000, but within a county with a population over 500,000

Date Received
Friday, September 10, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Brandon Creighton
Chair, Senate Committee on Higher Education
Texas State Senate
Post Office Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711-2068

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0430-KP
Whether article 5, section 1-a, of the Texas Constitution, prohibits a candidate from running for state judicial office if the candidate is 74 years of age on the date of the election but turns 75 before the term begins

Date Received
Wednesday, September 9, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Pam Guenther
Jackson County Criminal District Attorney
115 West Main, Room 205
Edna, Texas 77957

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0429-KP
Whether Executive Order GA-38 creates a right, privilege, power, or immunity with regard to Texans’ ability to not wear a face covering

Date Received
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Dee Hobbs
Williamson County Attorney
405 M.L.K. Street, #7
Georgetown, Texas 78626

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0428-KP
Whether Code of Criminal Procedure article 55.01(a)(1)(C), which provides for the expunction of all records and files relating to the arrest of a person convicted of unlawfully carrying certain weapons, includes expunction of the conviction itself

Date Received
Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Mark A. Gonzalez
Nueces County District Attorney
901 Leopard, Room 206
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

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