Abbott alleged that fewer people getting tested and a drop in
July surge testing operations in various coronavirus hotspots contributed to
the former high rate.
The governor also applauded Big 12 Conference officials’
decision to allow college football this fall.
What’s the latest with school openings, and how does it relate
The school re-opening debate is, apparently, a gift that keeps
on giving. Last Friday (August 14), the Cy-Fair American Federation of
Teachers sued the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School
District. The teacher’s union alleged that the district is in violation
of a joint order issued by the Harris County/City of Houston health
authorities prohibiting in-person instruction/professional development until
The trial court granted the union’s request for a temporary
restraining order the same day the lawsuit was filed. The judge’s order
stated that, no matter what the district says, the joint local health
authority order means teachers can’t be made to attend in-person professional
development before September 7.
Why should city officials care? The underlying issue in
the lawsuit is whether a city’s or county’s health authority can shut down a
school district based on local metrics and local health and safety
So far as we understood (or thought we understood) it, the
governor’s and TEA’s position remains that: (1) school boards control when
school opens; (2) school boards should consult with the local health
authority to make the decision; and (3) neither a city, a county, nor a local
health authority can issue blanket school closure orders. According to them,
the only authority at all lies with a local health authority, who can “during
the course of the school year, determine that a school building must be
closed in response to an outbreak.”
The attorney general, who really likes writing letters,
wrote yet another one today (August 17) in the form of an amicus (“friend of the court”) letter to the trial
judge. We assumed his letter would state that the local orders are
preempted by the governor’s order, statements, and TEA actions. He
He argues that the Health and Safety Code provisions relied on
by the city and county don’t authorize a blanket closure. Why he left
out executive order preemption is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he doesn’t
think those suspensions would hold up in court?
“Teachers’ unions have no authority to override the decisions
of schools administrators about how to return to school safely,” said the
attorney general. That’s a mischaracterization of the
dispute. The union isn’t suggesting that “it” should determine how to
return to school safety. Through its lawsuit, rather, the union is
suggesting that doctors should.
The whole thing has folks confused. Seems like listening to
two doctors might be better than one attorney? (Let the jokes
commence: Two doctors and an attorney walk into a bar…)
In any case, we’ll let the courts sort it out and go from
What’s the latest for municipal courts regarding the
suspension of the offense of expired vehicle registration?
Way back on March 16, 2020, the governor suspended various sections of the Transportation
Code. The suspension includes the offense of driving with an expired
inspection sticker, among others. That made good sense to avoid crowding
at Texas Department of Motor Vehicle offices and courts.
An inquiry to the League’s legal hotline last week uncovered
an interesting quirk: Any citation issued for expired registration after
March 16 should be dismissed as invalid. That’s true even if the
registration had been expired for decades! Moreover, the executive
order could be interpreted as prohibiting law enforcement officers from
issuing a citation at all.
We base that conclusion on a DMV open letter explaining the suspensions. Law
enforcement officers are probably aware of this through DMV communications,
but this particular scenario may be a new one for court staff.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.