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Update - Petition for Initiative Received for Ordinance

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Andrew, thank you for the table.

Don, I have been objective on this topic.

Andrew, what would it take to talk with one of our DA partners to get an AG opinion for us on SB8?

Question being (and any others)- If a Texas resident is taken out of state, to have an elective abortion completed, can the person who aided and abetted that resident currently be sued in TX under SB8? 

Don

I agree that it is best for all of us to be objective and to stay focused on our goal.  We all only want to do what is best for our city and the unborn.  I am not insinuating anything by referring to this ordinance as the MLD version.  I am only recognizin  the ownership that he has taken upon himself to put forth this version of the SCFTU.  

I believe the best path forward is not to compare and contrast the small nuances and complexities in state law and the SCFTU but to keep this as simple and straight forward as possible.  Craft brings up a great point.

 Bottom line:  does transporting someone to the place where the abortion occurs (regardless of location) constitute aiding or abetting?  I like Craft’s request to get the AG opinion on this since this is not as black and white as we would like it to be.  Only I would ask that the opinion be offered under all of 171 including the laws and amendments like 107A, 1280, and sb8.  (Specifically 171.208)

Once again, I support all the state has done to protect the lives of the unborn and I am still willing to move further if the state does not occupy areas of the law that our jurisdiction could enforce. 

Andrew can I get an update on the possibility of getting an opinion please. Thank you.

Quote from Josh.Craft@amarillo.gov on February 23, 2024, 11:34 am

Andrew can I get an update on the possibility of getting an opinion please. Thank you.

Good morning,

Attached is the advisory on this topic that Bryan was able to find from the Attorney General.  We have been discussing ideas with the mayor on how or what to request an opinion on.  The narrower the request the better, because they may not be able to respond depending on the circumstances (see below).    As you all are aware, the City Attorney and municipalities do not have the ability to request an AG opinion.  We would have to work through someone else to request it.  Below is from the AG's website:

Only those requestors authorized by law may seek the Attorney General's written advice through a formal opinion.

The Government Code lists the officials authorized to request formal attorney general opinions. The attorney general is prohibited by statute from giving a written opinion to anyone other than an authorized requestor.

Authorized requestors include:

  • the governor
  • the head of a department of state government
  • the head or board of a penal institution
  • the head or board of an eleemosynary institution
  • the head of a state board
  • a regent or trustee of a state educational institution
  • a committee of a house of the Texas Legislature
  • a county auditor authorized by law
  • the chairman of the governing board of a river authority
  • a district or county attorney

A person other than an authorized requestor who would like to request an attorney general opinion may ask an authorized requestor to submit the question to the attorney general. The authorized requestor has the discretion to decide whether to ask for an attorney general opinion in any given instance.

I have also attached a good write up from TML on Attorney General Opinions.  A couple of the highlights:

Q Is there a deadline in which the attorney general must issue an opinion?
A State law requires that the attorney general issue an opinion not later than the 180th day after the date that a request is received, unless the attorney general notifies the requestor in writing that the opinion will be delayed or not rendered and states the reasons for the delay or refusal.
TEX. GOV’T CODE § 402.042(c). There are various examples of opinions that have been issued well outside of this 180-day timeframe. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. GA-0795 (2010) (requested July 16, 2009 and issued August 27, 2010).

Q What are some of the reasons that the attorney general might refuse to issue an opinion or address a question raised in a request?

A

  • The attorney general has declined to address questions that are the subject of pending litigation, including matters that are the subject of administrative proceedings. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. Nos. KP-0118 (2016) at 2, GA-0498 (2007) at 8; RQ-0832-GA (2009) (this request involved an issue before the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and was “closed for litigation”).
  • The attorney general has declined to address issues that are, in effect, an appeal of a judicial decision or that require the construction of a court order. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. LO-93-74 at 4.
  • The attorney general will not, through the opinion process, determine disputed fact questions. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. No. KP-0240 (2019) at 1.
  • The attorney general has refused to answer questions that require the review and construction of a particular contract. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. GA-0883 (2011) at 4.
  • The attorney general typically will not construe a city charter provision or address whether particular actions constitute a violation of a city charter. See, e.g., Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. KP-0026 (2015) at 1

Thank you,
Andrew

Uploaded files:
Andrew Freeman Deputy City Manager

Thank you very much for the update. 

If you have not seen and read this article https://texasscorecard.com/commentary/amarillo-by-morning-abortion-clinic-waste-hauled-into-texas-city-for-disposal/  , I think each of us needs to take the time to read it. One thing I have heard from almost every citizen I have met with regarding the proposed Abortion ordinance is they agree with the restriction or outlawing of any business that disposes of human remains from elective abortions. They do not want Amarillo known for these practices nor do they want the stigma that goes with it.  There were speculations as to whether BioCycle engaged in these activities several months ago; but, to my knowledge, there was no proof and it was not something we needed to focus on.  Now, there appears to be proof of this company engaging in the disposal of aborted babies.  I do not think anyone in Amarillo feels good about a business in our city engaging in this.  As we progress down this road of looking at any ordinance proposed by a citizen committee or any others presented, I believe we need to take a hard look at what we can do to keep our city's hands clean of this practice.   

It is apparent, we have differing opinions on what we can do to prevent unborn babies from being trafficked to be killed; but this is an issue I think we can all agree on.  

I would like to hear how you guys feel about this business practice and if there is anything we can do to stop it. It may just take a public outcry or if there is policy we can adopt.  I am not for interfering with businesses in our area; however, this is an exception I feel we need to look at given the state's stance on abortion in Texas. 

I would also like a legal opinion on whether this is a state or local law enforcement issue (current enforceable statutes or laws) or if new policy would be needed. 

September 05, 2019 | Press Release | Fetal Remains

AG Paxton’s Office Defends Texas Law Requir­ing Humane Treat­ment of Fetal Remains

Lawyers from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office appeared today before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to present oral arguments in defense of Texas’ law requiring humane treatment of fetal remains. 

The case centers on a 2017 law that requires health care facilities to dispose of the remains of aborted and miscarried children through burial, cremation, or the scattering of ashes. Previous law allowed health care facilities to discharge fetal remains into a sewer system or incinerate them and send the ashes to a landfill.

“The requirement to treat the remains of unborn children with dignity and respect would do nothing to affect the availability of abortion in Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said. “So why does the abortion industry object so strenuously? The unpleasant answer is that it will go to any lengths to obscure this fundamental reality: the child in the womb is a human being. But given the Supreme Court’s guidance on this very issue and the persuasive case made in the courtroom today, I’m confident that we will prevail.”

In May, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a similar fetal remains law from Indiana and held that States have a “legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains.” The Supreme Court has also repeatedly held that States may enact laws to “express profound respect for the life of the unborn.”

Receive email updates from the OAG Press Office:

AG Pax­ton Defends Humane Treat­ment of Fetal Remains

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a letter brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressing the impact of a recent decision from the United States Supreme Court that held unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

July 14, 2020 | Press Release

 
Tom Scherlen 
Amarillo City Council
Place 3

Don 

I can agree on this issue, please read what I found. 

Thanks Tom!  That's good information!

Floyd, can we get a legal opinion on this from Bryan please?  The information Tom provided from the AG's office is good information; but does it apply to babies aborted outside the state and brought in to the state?  Is this something we are obligated to report to the AG's office if it does apply?  

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