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Update - Petition for Initiative Received for Ordinance

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Good afternoon, Mayor & City Council,

I wanted to make each of you aware that we received a Petition for Initiative today from an Initiating Committee of Amarillo residents.  I have attached the documents to this post which includes the Ordinance they would like City Council to approve or to place on a ballot after receiving the required signatures.  The ordinance is titled "An Ordinance Outlawing Abortion, Declaring Amarillo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn, Making Various Provisions and Findings, Providing for Severability, and Establishing an Effective Date.  

Thank you,
Andrew Freeman
Interim City Manager

Uploaded files:
Andrew Freeman Deputy City Manager


Thank you for the update.  This changes some things for what I was working on.  Currently I have some clarifications that I wanted to make to draft A about the “possession” of the abortion inducing drug and how current Health and Safety Code 171.061 regulates and addresses “prescribed, dispensed, administered, mailed, give or transfer to…” but does not speak to regulating possession.  I do not think a lengthy conversation about the language in draft A is helpful now that we will have the entire Mark Lee Dickson ordinance (draft C) that could be put before council and brought to the public for a vote.

Any thoughts from council on if we should continue our conversation/work on draft A?

Or would our time be better spent in discussing the items currently in state law that already give “any person” the right of civil action against “anyone that aids or abets (which includes providing the abortion inducing drugs or transporting them across state lines to a abortion provider) ?  See 171.208 (2)

Any other council members that were told that the MLD ordinance was needed in order to have the private right of action?  I only learned that the public already has the right to sue under state law this week.  MLD specifically told me in our last conversation that “any person” could not sue “anyone who aids or abets someone in carrying out an abortion”.  Obviously this is not in line with state law.  


Also, the MLD ordinance does not give any investagory powers.  So I asked him that if “any person” was to file a suit in our district court and the judge was to hear the civil case, how and who is entitled to get phone records, gps locates, text messages, and any other evidence that would be admissible in court?  Without these very important authorities, like what is held at the state, there is no legitimate lawsuit that could be heard.

Please let me know if I am mistaken, but this ordinance is a reprint of what the state has already accomplished except it’s brought to the municipal level and does not have the authorities needed for it to be legally enforced.  I am concerned that most of our citizens do not understand that this draft does not do what it has been represented to do.  As well as the fact that most of us did not know that the ability to take a “private right of action” has already been awarded by SB8, 170A, 171

Please advise

After reading what the Mayor put out, and afternoon visiting with MLD this week who told me they would go after a petition to get what HE wanted. I feel like, let’s drop it at this point and let see what they can do with a petition. I do think we need to make an attempt to explain to our citizens how affective the State law really is! I believe our citizens are being lead down of path untruths about what state law actually does. I would be willing to talk about the possession part of the law, but in reality I think we will be wasting our time because MLD has already taken this to the next step, which I feel like will hurt our city in the long run. I have talked to many conservatives who are very pro-life but feel this ordnances goes above and beyond what they actually believe. I am open to talk about whatever, but I honestly believe they have played their card and if we do not do exactly what they want they will continue down this road. At the time a petition is brought fourth we can make a decision at that point. 

I do highly recommend that we try to educate the citizens to State Law, and how it can be enforced. Then explain how the version C is nothing but draconian law!

Andrew, thank you for the update.

After looking into this since our workshop, it is my understanding that S.B. 8 equips anyone currently to bring a suit against any person who aided and abetted.

Mayor, with a petition coming our way for, I am fine with leaving it all alone for now. If legal, or anyone, can explain to me what the ordinance in the petition will accomplish that isn’t already covered in State Law, I would like to hear it.

Below, I have attached a link to the S.B. 8 analysis if it is beneficial to anyone.


“The bill would authorize any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in state, to bring a civil action against any person who:

- performed or induced an abortion in violation of the bill's

- knowingly engaged in conduct that aided or abetted the
performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or
reimbursing the abortion costs through insurance or otherwise,
regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that
the abortion would be performed or induced in violation; or

- intended to engage in the conduct described above.”

I am checking something else out. I believe we can’t create law that goes against state law, or the state constitution. Which I believe this ordnance does, we can’t create courts to handle things like this. I will let you know if I find something.

Would it be the best use of our time if council tables consideration and discussion of this topic and works on other important city issues until we see what happens with the petition?

Agreed.  I think we need to get some advisement on the petition process, councils options, and allow for all of council to respond.  We still haven’t heard from Don yet.  I would like to get his perspective since this development.

I am sorry I am late to this discussion. I am not subscribed.  In reading everything already discussed, it appears the big issue here is a privately enforced ordinance that looks similar to SB8.  I think we are all looking at whether an ordinance like this is necessary and the differences between it and SB8.  I am for tabling this issue and educating ourselves on the petition process at this point.  It is my understanding the proposed petition will be turned in by January 19th.  This gives us time to understand the process better instead of discussing points of any proposed ordinance.  We can always come back to a revised publicly enforced ordinance as it relates to the pills and disposal of baby parts due to an elective abortion in the near future.  

Josh, I am going to see if I can get you an answer to your question regarding and differences in SB8 and the ordinance sent in by the citizen committee. That is a great question. I think it would be good for all of us to know the differences, if any.  

That would be great. It’s a simple question that needs answered. Thank you Don. 

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