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Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General’

House passes AG butt-in bill

Boo. The state attorney general is on the verge of having new powers to influence cases on school finance and legislative redistricting, as part of the GOP’s latest efforts to diminish Democratic challenges to their policies. The House on Monday voted 91-49 to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the attorney general […]

Ken Paxton continues to be an ethical morass

We continue to learn more about just how compromised our Attorney General is. Ken Paxton earned thousands of dollars by referring his private legal clients to a financial adviser now accused of “unethical and fraudulent conduct” by the state, records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show. Paxton, now Texas attorney general, did not tell […]

Separating the Sheriff and the jail

As Commissioners Court prepares to name a replacement Sheriff, they have some bigger plans to discuss as well. A revolutionary idea is being pitched that would reshape the law enforcement agency by removing the troubled jail from the sheriff’s responsibilities. One county commissioner is leading the charge to create a new jail administrator who would […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Uber sues Houston

It’s all about the secrecy. Uber is once again suing to keep its secrets. The ride-hailing service filed suit in Houston last week to block the release of public records that would reveal how many drivers it has licensed in the city, who they are and how the company operates in Texas, according to court […]

House approves bill to move Public Integrity Unit

Like it or not, looks like this is going to get done. The Texas House gave initial approval Monday to a stripped-down bill that would remove public corruption cases from Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit. Final House approval is expected Tuesday. House Bill 1690, initially approved 94-51, was amended on the House floor to apply […]

Bill to kneecap Public Integrity Unit gets unstuck

And away it goes. Senate Bill 10, filed by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, passed on second reading along party lines. The integrity unit is currently a state-funded division of the Travis County DA’s office that investigates public corruption, insurance fraud and tax fraud. Some Republicans have said the unit has had partisan motives for its […]

TPJ refiles complaint against Paxton

We’ll see if they have any better luck this time. Texans for Public Justice on Monday re-filed its criminal complaint against Attorney General Ken Paxton with local prosecutors in Dallas and Collin Counties, arguing the latter should recuse himself because of conflict of interest concerns. “Mr. Paxton’s conduct demands a thorough and independent investigation,” Craig […]

TPJ still wants Paxton investigated

At the very least, they don’t want the matter dropped due to blithe indifference. The head of a public watchdog group said he again will urge law enforcement to launch a probe into Attorney General Ken Paxton’s admitted violation of state security laws after learning that the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, headed by a […]

Bill to kneecap Public Integrity Unit stuck in the Senate

For now, at least. A Republican bill to transfer the Public Integrity Unit out of Travis County has snagged in the Senate, where the legislation does not have enough support to force a floor vote — at least for now. The author of Senate Bill 10, Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, acknowledged Monday that she is […]

Paxton files his first lawsuit against the feds

Won’t be his last, I’m sure, but as the first it sure seems like a rearguard action. The state of Texas is suing the Obama administration for giving medical leave benefits to certain same-sex couples, according to an announcement Wednesday from Attorney General Ken Paxton. The lawsuit comes in response to a rule change announced […]

Bill to neuter Public Integrity Unit advances

Still a bad idea. A measure that would take the state’s public corruption-fighting unit out of the hands of the Travis County district attorney’s office and place it in the Texas attorney general’s office was approved Monday by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The 7-2 vote in favor of Senate Bill 10, authored by state […]

Republicans try again to kill Public Integrity Unit

They might have the votes this time, though as with some other highly publicized “replacement” efforts, their substitute idea lacks a few key elements to make it successful. Under Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Joan Huffman, the attorney general’s office would conduct the initial investigation of complaints against officials, with help from the Texas Rangers. […]

Complaint filed against judge who allowed same sex marriage

Whatever. The judge that allowed Texas’ first gay marriage to go forward is the target of a judicial conduct complaint, the latest volley in the state’s attempts to call the historic union into question. “This judge deliberately violated statutory law and this is unacceptable,” Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arglington, said after confirming he had filed a […]

The backlash has begun

Item one. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to void a marriage license issued to two Austin women who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years, said their vows on Thursday after state […]

First same-sex marriage in Texas happens

It may be the only one for awhile, but it will definitely not be the only one. Despite Texas’ longstanding ban on same-sex marriages, two Austin women made history on Thursday when they became the first gay couple to legally wed in the state. A judge directed the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage […]

Another judge finds Texas’ ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional

This ruling is a bit more narrow, however. A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that the Texas ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but there was no rush to the altar after county officials — scrambling to assess the impact of the judge’s 3 p.m. order — declined to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex […]

Paxton evades prosecution

In Travis County, anyway. New Attorney General Ken Paxton, who in 2014 was found to have violated the Texas Securities Act, will not be prosecuted by the state’s office that investigates public corruption, officials said Thursday. Paxton, a former state senator from McKinney, violated the Securities Act by soliciting investment clients without being registered, as […]

First hearing in Abbott’s immigration lawsuit

No clue what will happen with this. Saying South Texas is where the “rubber meets the road” on immigration issues, a federal judge used a folksy reference Thursday to note his court is the right place to decide whether to block President Obama’s recent order protecting millions of immigrants from deportation. “Talking to anyone in […]

The Fifth Circuit finally hears the same sex marriage appeal

I am very cautiously optimistic. Signaling significant doubt about the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriages, two federal appeals judges on Friday questioned a state attorney’s argument that marriage is a “subsidy” that the state has the right to grant and withhold. In sharp exchanges with two judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court […]

The Fifth Circuit hears the HB2 arguments

Maybe it’s not a slam dunk for HB2, though I refuse to get my hopes up. In a long line of tough questioning Wednesday over a new Texas abortion law, federal appeals judges here questioned whether part of a provision requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards should be struck down. The possibility that the […]

How much do payday lenders suck?

This much. Pursuing, or even threatening, criminal charges against payday and title borrowers is strictly prohibited by Texas law, with very few exceptions. The Texas Constitution unequivocally states, “No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.” But new research released this morning by Texas Appleseed shows that criminal charges against payday borrowers for missing payments […]

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

Abbott and the Latino vote

The Trib drops a number on us. Along with his 20-point margin of victory, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott accomplished something on Election Day that many naysayers doubted the Republican could: He took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. For Texas conservatives, Abbott’s performance indicated that Republicans are making headway among this increasingly crucial voting bloc, which […]

Ken Paxton is still an ethical morass

He’s just now a statewide ethical morass. A state judge will determine whether to revoke the securities license of Frederick Mowery, who was linked to the State Securities Board’s May reprimand of Attorney General-elect Ken Paxton, for allegations that included failure to disclose conflicts of interest, plagiarism and lying to investigators. Mowery was given 20 […]

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

UT/Trib poll says Texans would be fine with same sex marriage

A result of interest from the most recent UT/Trib poll: Registered Texas voters narrowly oppose same-sex marriage, but a large majority is open to allowing either marriage or civil unions to gays and lesbians, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Asked whether those couples should be allowed to marry, 42 percent say […]

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

Interview index

For your convenience, here is a list of all my interviews and judicial Q&As for the November election. This includes ones I did for the primary and runoff. Interviews US Senate – David Alameel Attorney General – Sam Houston Comptroller – Mike Collier Land Commissioner – John Cook Railroad Commissioner – Steve Brown State Senate, […]

On Greg Abbott and who gets to get married

As you may have heard, Peggy Fikac got to ask Greg Abbott the obvious question about how exactly the state’s law against same-sex marriage, which Abbott is diligently defending in court, differs from the old laws that once banned interracial marriage, and would he have defended those as well since he claims he’s just doing […]

Chron overview of the AG race

Couple of interesting tidbits in here. A tea party darling with a dozen years in the state Legislature, Sen. Ken Paxton has avoided the media since admitting to a third-degree felony violation of state securities law in late April. Spokesman Anthony Holm serves as his gatekeeper – even once physically blocking a reporter from approaching […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]

Abbott’s appellate response brief is the same old junk

Pathetic. Attorney General Greg Abbott says Texas’ same-sex marriage ban should remain in place because legalizing it would do little or nothing to encourage heterosexual couples to get married and have children. Writing in a brief filed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to […]

Voter ID plaintiffs ask for no stay

They’ve filed their response to the Fifth Circuit. Attorneys challenging Texas’ voter ID law — which was struck down by a federal judge on Thursday — asked a federal appeals court on Sunday not to allow the state to enforce the law. In a brief filed with the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals, lawyers for […]