Weekly News Round Up Of The State’s Top Law Enforcement Officer – Texas Attorney General

Weekly News Round Up Of The State’s Top Law Enforcement Officer – Texas Attorney General

Staff Report

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton is the lawyer for the State of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to:

  • defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas
  • represent the State in litigation
  • approve public bond issues

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues 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/.


WEEKLY NEWS ROUND-UP OF THE STATE’S

TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER…

THE TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL

Request For Opinion

Received: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Re: Authority of municipalities to regulate firearm and ammunition sales through zoning and other regulations

Read Original Request: RQ-0269-KP

Requestor: The Honorable Donna Campbell, M.D.
Chair, Committee on Veterans Affairs and Border Security
Texas State Senate Post Office Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711-2068

AG Paxton Urges U.S. District Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Texas’ Electoral College System

AUSTIN – A legal team from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. District Court in San Antonio to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the time-honored Electoral College system used in every presidential election since 1789.

“My office’s legal team did a superb job defending the stable and successful presidential election system designed by our Founders and enshrined in our Constitution. That system has been used by the states for more than two centuries, dating back to the first election of George Washington,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It’s no coincidence that every lawsuit asking the courts to upend the Electoral College has failed. Changing or eliminating the Electoral College can only be done by an amendment to the Constitution, which is reason enough the district court should dismiss this latest legal challenge. The Electoral College system ensures the people living in Texas and other states have a voice in determining who will be their president.”

A federal lawsuit filed against Texas last March seeks to end the State’s practice of awarding every Electoral College elector to the winning presidential candidate in each state.

Texas is among 48 states and the District of Columbia that appoint its presidential electors through a statewide winner-take-all system. Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a decision rejecting the argument that the Electoral College system is unconstitutional.

AG Paxton: Texarkana Court of Appeals Issues Opinion Protecting Taxpayers in Kilgore ISD

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Texas 6th District Court of Appeals in Texarkana issued an opinion yesterday stating that Kilgore ISD had no right to reject or lower local option homestead exemptions for taxpayers in Gregg County.

“Kilgore ISD cannot legally siphon money away from homeowners without their vote or consent. I’m grateful that the court recognized that local governments cannot simply brush off laws they do not like,” Attorney General Paxton said. “My office is proud to stand up for Texas homeowners and taxpayers in every school district.”

In May 2015, the Legislature enacted tax relief for Texans by prohibiting school districts from repealing or lowering local option homestead exemptions for the 2015-2019 tax years, while simultaneously providing additional state funding to school districts. Nevertheless, some school districts chose to reduce or repeal their local option homestead exemption in an attempt to tax homeowners at a rate that violated the law.

Twenty school districts throughout Texas reduced or repealed their local option homestead exemptions in 2015: Dumas, Kilgore, White Deer, Bridge City, Broaddus, Christoval, Daingerfield-Lone Star, excelsior, Groesbeck, Gruver, Hardin-Jefferson, High Island, Kountze, Lexington, Mount Pleasant, Riviera, Shepherd, Spurger, Veribest and Winfield.

When taxpayers filed suit against Kilgore ISD in 2016, Attorney General Paxton intervened in the lawsuit in support of the taxpayers, arguing that Kilgore violated state law by repealing its local option homestead exemption. The trial court ruled in favor of taxpayers and Texas last year, and today’s ruling upholds that decision in favor of the State.

Attorney General Paxton also intervened in lawsuits against Dumas and White Deer school districts, which remain pending.

To view the opinion from the Texarkana Court of Appeals, click here.

Request For Opinion

Received: Friday, February 8, 2019

Re: Use of pretrial intervention program funds collected under Code of Criminal Procedure article 102.0121 to supplement the salary of an attorney or staff member who assists in the administration of the program

Read Original Request: RQ-0271-KP

Requestor: Mr. Matthew S. Weingardt, CPA
Val Verde County Auditor
901 Bedell Avenue, Suite A
Del Rio, Texas 78840

Request For Opinion

Received: Friday, February 8, 2019

Re: Whether a county commissioners court may appoint a sitting regent of a public university system to a county hospital district’s board of trustees

Read Original Request: RQ-0270-KP

Requestor: The Honorable Vince Ryan
Harris County Attorney
1019 Congress Street, Floor 15
Houston, Texas 77002-1799

AG Paxton Joins 16-State Coalition Brief Asking the 6th Circuit to Protect Health and Safety of Women

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with 15 other state attorneys general, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to defend a Kentucky law that protects women’s health and safety.

The state law, which was in existence for nearly 20 years before being overturned by a lower court last September, requires abortion clinics in Kentucky to maintain agreements with ambulances and hospitals to transport and transfer women in case of complications.

Following the lead of federal Medicare law, many states require facilities performing outpatient surgery to have transfer agreements with a nearby hospital in case an emergency occurs.

But if the lower court’s decision is allowed to stand, states could be required to facilitate abortion by creating exceptions so that abortion doctors are not subject to the same law as other medical professionals.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Kentucky in 2017, claiming the state’s “transfer and transport” regulation unconstitutionally restricted the right to abortion.

Previously, Kentucky informed EMW that its compliance with the law was deficient and did not offer certainty that a patient would receive a medically appropriate transfer in case of an emergency.

“The Constitution makes clear that states should be free to pass laws that are in the best interests of their citizens, and Kentucky’s lawmakers passed the common-sense ‘transfer and transport’ regulation over 20 years ago to protect women’s health,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Abortion doctors should be subject to the same laws and standards as any other doctor, and to argue otherwise shows that these groups do not have the best interests of women at heart.”

Texas is joined on the Indiana- and Ohio-led friend-of-the-court brief by Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia.

View a copy of the brief here.

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