Texas Attorney General’s weekly roundup

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 https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/.

AG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round-Up

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit

Dallas County
Jorge Antonio Cervantes was arrested in Dallas on July 21, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault issued by the Waxahachie Police Department.

Bexar County
Nicole Kristina Clayton was arrested in San Antonio on July 16, on an outstanding warrant for Sex Offense Against Child Fondling – Felony Indecency with a Child/Sexual Contact issued by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of San Antonio.

Travis County
Milo Cortez Douglas was arrested in Austin on July 19, on an outstanding warrant for Murder issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.

Dallas County
Facundo Dario Araya was arrested in Irving on July 20, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Wise County Sheriff’s Office. 

Paxton Joins Multistate Coalition in Defense of Religious Liberty

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined an 11-state coalition in defense of religious liberty, challenging Virginia’s requirement that photographers shoot weddings that conflict with their religious beliefs.

Virginia’s Act is just the latest instance in a series of leftist applications of public accommodation laws to unconstitutionally burden individual’s First Amendment rights.

“States cannot compel individuals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, and cannot compel speech by artists—or anyone else—to advance a left-wing cultural agenda.” Attorney General Paxton said. “Time and again, left-wing activists have persecuted men and women of faith for their refusal to affirm whatever the left’s latest pronouncement on sexuality and gender may be. These activists richly deserve their losses in court time and again, and I remain committed to fighting for religious liberty in Texas and across the United States.”

Read the Amicus Brief here.   

Attorney General Paxton Announces Global Opioid Settlement 

The settlement includes Texas political subdivisions; if subdivisions join Texas could receive over $1.5 billion

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a historic $26 billion agreement that will bring desperately needed relief to Texans who are struggling with opioid addiction.

The agreement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids.

Additionally, it requires significant industry changes that will help prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again.

“In 2020, 93,000 people died from opioid overdoses – nearly 30 percent more than the prior year. This number is significantly less than the number of families that have watched their loved ones’ lives be torn apart from addiction,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Many Texans suffer from addiction and need significant support and treatment to avoid becoming another statistic. My office will continue to hold the companies that contributed to this crisis accountable and ensure that sufficient funds flow to Texas to provide much needed relief to our citizens.”

Under the agreement, the State will have 30 days to decide whether to join the settlement. Texas could receive as much as $1.5 billion, the vast majority of which would be spent on opioid abatement pursuant to a new state law.

The actual amount Texas receives will depend upon the participation of cities, counties, and other political subdivisions in the state.

General Paxton previously announced an agreement with the subdivisions that have also been litigating against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that was based upon an agreed formula for distributing the settlement funds throughout the state and that also created a list of expert-approved abatement strategies to be deployed around the state.

Attorney General Paxton added, “I have appreciated the partnership we established many months ago in our effort to maximize recoveries for Texans. After years of our combined efforts, well over $1 billion is on the table that we can collectively use to provide meaningful relief to our citizens. It’s time for us to come together again as only Texans can, maximize our recovery, and take care of our citizens so that we can serve as an example for the rest of the country.”

Attorney General Paxton serves in the leadership of other ongoing negotiations to continue to add funding for these abatement efforts, including through the bankruptcy cases of manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt.

Both of those companies are expected to emerge from bankruptcy in the upcoming months and provide millions of additional dollars for opioid abatement. 

Paxton Joins Multistate Coalition in Protecting Second Amendment Rights

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a coalition of 26 states to protect the Second Amendment in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, which challenges New York’s law that allows only those who “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession” to carry a firearm outside the home.

The Second Amendment explicitly promises the right to bear arms to every American – and does not leave them defenseless when they step outside of their homes.

“This unconstitutional law forces New Yorkers to first become a victim of a violent crime before they can even attempt to protect themselves,” Attorney General Paxton said. “There is significant evidence that proves that concealed carry holders are less likely to commit a crime – in fact, allowing citizens to defend themselves decreases crime in general. We must ensure that Second Amendment rights are guaranteed to all Americans.”

Read the brief here

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0418-KP
Whether a legislator has a constitutional right to break quorum and whether Texas law allows for a determination that a legislator has vacated office.

Date Received
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable James White
Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety
Texas House of Representatives
Post Office Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

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