Abuses of power in Texas; Elgin ISD responds to AG, Houston’s public record failures

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Before the case Hall v. McRaven was decided in January 2017, the Supreme Court of Texas had long upheld the principle that “a public officer has no discretion or authority to misinterpret the law.”  But in Hall, the court ruled that the University of Texas chancellor was “unconstrained” by any law in existence, except for a law under which he was delegated to interpret other laws. Taken literally, that principle could nearly cancel the rule of law as it applies to government.

The Elgin Independent School District is the second district to take issue with an assessment by Attorney General Ken Paxton that school officials broke the law by stumping for political candidates.

More than a year after a recycling company which failed to get city business asked for emails from one of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s cabinet officials through the state’s public records act, city officials still have not released all of the requested emails and were questioned this week by a judge about the lack of disclosure.

In Austin, staff for city manager have begun research into something called the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. The law would require owners of single and multi-family homes to give first preference to their tenants should they want to sell their properties. This law is on the books in Washington, DC, but city council in Austin seems to be largely unaware of is the Tenant Act is in the process of being gutted by a D.C. Council that has seen the legislation become a multi-million dollar “extortion” racket for tenants.

Also this week:

City of Odessa will now record closed sessions thanks to newspaper lawsuit

Lack of oversight, documentation in Houston economic development program

Texas Rangers agree to investigate New Boston city police chief

Who watches the watchers? Nobody, after Texas high court favors impunity for all

Voter fraud claim in Texas judicial election lost by one vote

City of Austin pays property owner $25k for failing to fix 42-year-old drainage problem

$6 million doled out to Texas superintendent severance packages in past 15 months

Have a tip? Contact Editor Trent Seibert at [email protected]

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