The meteorological heat dome parked over Texas all summer may finally be breaking up, but things have only gotten hotter under the Big Pink Dome in Austin.
Another successful Annual Conference!
We are still buzzing from last week’s fantastic Annual Conference at Kalahari Resorts. More than 1,000 TDCAA members descended upon the Kalahari Resort in Round Rock for some top-notch networking, entertainment, and legal education. We loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, and we hope all of you will consider joining us at the 2024 Annual at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston so we can do it all over again!
That was one heck of a September, wasn’t it? If you are a history nerd like us, the recent impeachment trial was a unique event irrespective of the outcome. But politics is all about outcomes, and the fallout from this failed impeachment will ripple through multiple election cycles (especially in the GOP primaries).
The first hint of how that outcome might play in state politics could come next month now that Governor Abbott has confirmed his intent to call a third special session in October. (The exact date is still to be announced, but the betting favorite among the lobby is Tuesday, October 10, after the flurry of legislative fundraisers traditionally held in the Metroplex in conjunction with the Texas-OU game). We know that special session will include one or more public education issues, but what else might be included is known only to the governor at this time. Note, however, that he has recently been making noise about border security (again), so don’t be surprised if something of that nature gets added to the call at some point.
Publication of proposed SB 22 rules
The Comptroller’s Office may publish its proposed rules for administering the rural law enforcement grant programs created by Senate Bill 22 as soon as tomorrow. Watch your inbox for the latest news on that front, which we will report as soon as it happens. Once posted, the public will have 60 days to submit comments to that state agency before it adopts the final version of those administrative rules procedures.
Legislative Update CLEs and books
To date, more than 2,500 people have registered for or completed one of our Legislative Update classes. If you or your employees are not included in that number, don’t get left behind! Here are two ways to resolve that shortcoming:
- Register for the lone remaining in-person Legislative Update CLE course on October 6 in Fort Worth: LINK.
- Sign up and complete our online Legislative Update CLE course: LINK.
And speaking of books, you can order updated TDCAA code books, charging manuals, and more at our Books webpage.
SB 12 injunction issued
If you have attended or viewed our Legislative Update course or read our book, you know that we warned you about several of the likely constitutional shortcomings of SB 12, the so-called “drag show ban” law passed during the regular session. And sure enough, a federal district court judge in Houston has now issued a permanent injunction against criminal or civil enforcement of that new law. The AG’s office will appeal that ruling to the Fifth Circuit, but for the time being, that bill is a dead letter.
Free forensic DNA CLE
TDCAA is pleased to be able to co-sponsor the upcoming “Understanding Forensic DNA Conference,” a CLE program offered in conjunction with the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and other stakeholders. The free two-day program will be held in Austin in the State Capitol Auditorium on November 2–3, 2023, and hotel and per diem reimbursements are available to prosecutors who attend the course. For more details, see this page of our website.
Here are some recent stories you might’ve missed:
- “Hays County district clerk drops [removal] lawsuit against the county’s district attorney” (KUT News [free link])
- “Inside the deliberations that led to Ken Paxton’s impeachment acquittal” (Houston Chronicle [free link])
- “Inside the twists and turns of Ken Paxton’s historic impeachment fight” (Dallas Morning News)
- “GOP senators, open to Paxton conviction, flipped when they realized they were still short the votes” (Texas Tribune [free link])
- “‘No coincidences in Austin’: Paxton impeachment trial ends, but a new saying begins” (Houston Chronicle [free link])
Quotes of the Month
“There is nothing more Texan than paying bitcoin miners millions of public dollars to ensure that a power outage does not interrupt the impeachment trial looking into the many alleged crimes of our top law enforcement officer. It’s exactly what Davy Crockett died for.”
—Mid-impeachment trial tweet by Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News columnist.
“I feel there were six senators who were ready to be the 21st vote, but they didn’t want to be the 20th vote.”
—State Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas), on the Senate deliberations in the Paxton impeachment trial which required 21 votes to remove the AG from office.
“It’s very hard to get political people to make a nonpolitical decision.”
—Rusty Hardin, lead prosecutor for the House Impeachment Managers, giving his opinion on why they were unable to remove the attorney general from office.
“[The acquittal] is a victory in what’s been a longtime battle in the Republican Party. … All they did was make [Paxton] stronger in the party.”
—Nick Maddux, Ken Paxton’s chief political adviser, expressing his opinion on the political impact of the Senate’s resolution of the impeachment case.
“What we’re seeing is, more broadly speaking, the politicization of removal processes.”
—James Riddlesperger, a political scientist at Texas Christian University, as quoted in a Texas Tribune article about the (since-dismissed) petition filed to remove the Hays County Criminal DA under the law amended by HB 17.
“It’s not a criminal trial. It’s not a civil trial. It’s a political trial.”
—Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), in an interview before the recent impeachment trial. (Yes, we shared this quote in last month’s update, but maybe now you understand why?)
(Watch your inbox for our next update as events warrant.)