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

 

 

AG Paxton’s Office Obtains Temporary Restraining Order Against Inland Recycling to Protect Texas Creek from Harmful Pollution

AUSTIN – Acting on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office obtained a temporary restraining order against Inland Recycling LLC, Inland Environmental Remediation, Inc., and David Polston of Altair, Texas, after a Travis County District Court found evidence showing the defendants violated state laws protecting water quality.

“Unless the defendants are restrained, industrial solid waste and other waste will discharge from the facility” into or adjacent to Skull Creek in Colorado County, rendering water harmful to the public health and environment, the court concluded. A hearing is set on May 2 to consider Attorney General Paxton’s request for the temporary restraining order to become a temporary injunction.

“The Texas Legislature has enacted strong environmental laws to protect our natural resources for all Texans, and we have a duty to stop the damage and hold the polluters accountable when resources like Texas creeks become polluted,” Attorney General Paxton said. “My office will do everything in its power to see that the Inland Recycling defendants comply with state law and pay for any damage done to water quality.”

Under terms of the temporary restraining order, Inland Recycling and its co-defendants must immediately cease and prevent all discharge of waste from its site at 6254 Highway 71, Altair, TX 77412, and stop accepting any unauthorized waste at the site for storage, processing or disposal; contain all waste at its site in covered containers; and drain liquid-form waste from open-air containment basins and place all of it in covered containers.

View a copy of the TRO here.

AG Paxton: Texas Supreme Court Ruling Allows State to Conceal Identity of Execution Drug Supplier

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded a Texas Supreme Court ruling that maintains the vital ability of the state to protect the identity of its execution drug supplier:

“Today’s court ruling ensures anonymity for suppliers of drugs the State of Texas uses for executions by lethal injection. It is necessary to withhold the identities of these businesses and their employees from public disclosure to ensure their physical safety.  The voters of Texas have expressed their judgment that the death penalty is necessary, and this decision preserves Texas’ ability to carry out executions mandated by state law.”

AG Paxton’s Office Responds to U.S. House Oversight Committee Request for Information

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today responded to a letter from the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which requested documents relating to Texas’s efforts to safeguard its voting process.

Specifically, the Committee appears to be inserting itself into the statutorily-required efforts on the part of state officials to detect and prosecute non-citizen voting.

The letter from First Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey C. Mateer informed the Committee that it lacks any oversight jurisdiction over constitutional officers in the State of Texas.

Therefore, its request for documents must be treated as a request under Texas’s Public Information Act and will be processed accordingly. The letter also states that, due to pending litigation and ongoing criminal investigations, the OAG believes information requested by the Committee is exempted from required disclosure under Texas law.

“We appreciate the Committee’s interest in the OAG’s efforts to protect the sanctity of elections in Texas, to promote lawful voting, and to prosecute illegal voting,” First Assistant Mateer wrote in the letter. “Notwithstanding political rhetoric to the contrary, our office has real, first-person experience showing the threat to election integrity in Texas is real …. Illegal voting undermines democracy in our state and deprives lawful voters of an effective voice in the election process. The OAG stands ready to ensure elections in Texas are conducted lawfully and to prosecute individuals who break those laws. We look forward to any assistance and cooperation the Committee can provide in this endeavor.”

From 2005-2017, the attorney general’s office prosecuted 97 defendants for numerous voter fraud violations. In 2018, Attorney General Paxton’s Election Fraud Unit – with assistance from a criminal justice grant from the governor’s office – prosecuted 33 defendants for a total of 97 election fraud violations.

In February of 2018, Attorney General Paxton announced a significant voter fraud initiative and addressed key problems and policy areas related to election law.

Read the letter here.

AG Paxton Requests Records on Chick-fil-A Decision by San Antonio City Council

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today sent a second letter to the mayor and council members for the City of San Antonio, making an open records request for documents related to the Office of the Attorney General’s investigation of the City’s decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport.

In the letter, Attorney General Paxton requests public records revealing communications between councilmembers, city employees, and third parties that discuss the inclusion or exclusion of Chick-fil-A in the concessionaire contract for the airport.

The request also seeks calendars, records of councilmember meetings regarding the contract, and any internal communications among city employees about the inclusion or exclusion of Chick-fil-A from the concessionaire contract.

“The decision to discriminate against any vendor based on religious beliefs associated with the company and its owners flies in the face of the Constitution and Texas law,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I look forward to reviewing the City of San Antonio’s records explaining why the City Council targeted this respected restaurant chain for exclusion from the City’s concessionaire contract for the international airport.”

On March 28, Attorney General Paxton sent a letter to the mayor and city council members of San Antonio announcing an investigation regarding their decision.

In a separate letter, Attorney General Paxton also urged to Secretary Elaine Chao of the United States Department of Transportation to open an investigation into the City of San Antonio’s potential violation of federal law and Transportation Department regulations.

The First Amendment protects individuals and closely held companies from governmental restrictions based on their religious views or status.

Additionally, federal regulations governing grant money provided to the San Antonio airport prohibit religious discrimination.

View a copy of the letter here.

Request for Opinion

Original Request – RQ-0282-KP: Whether a county treasurer is authorized to use an online auction site to sell unclaimed property pursuant to chapter 76 of the Property Code

Received: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Requestor: The Honorable Chris Taylor
Tom Green County Attorney
122 West Harris
San Angelo, Texas 76903-5835

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