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Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis
News Release
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Commissioner Ellis’ Request for Harris County to Join SB4 Lawsuit Declined by Commissioners Court

Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis on Tuesday asked Harris County to join other Texas counties and cities in a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 4, the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, but the other Commissioners declined to get involved in the legal challenge.

During the regular Commissioners Court meeting, Commissioner Ellis made a motion asking Harris County to join the lawsuit, but there was no second to it, meaning no vote was taken on the agenda item. The lack of action on the request means Harris County will not join the lawsuit challenging SB4.

“Over the last several weeks, I’ve heard widespread, almost unanimous opposition to SB4, the show-me-your-papers bill. Members of the Harris County delegation in the Legislature, Houston City Council members, clergy members, business leaders, grassroots and advocacy groups and residents across Harris County asked us to join the lawsuit to overturn the new law,” Commissioner Ellis said.

“After listening to their concerns, I placed that item on the agenda and asked Commissioners Court to vote to join the other counties and cities in Texas that have filed suit.” Commissioner Ellis said. “Unfortunately, my colleagues decided not to join the court challenge to this unconstitutional law. I will continue to oppose any efforts to discriminate and dilute our constitutional rights.”

Last month, Houston City Council voted to join the consolidated lawsuit challenging the law, which goes into effect September 1. Other governments that have joined the lawsuit include the cities of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas as well as Bexar, El Paso and Maverick counties.

State Senators John Whitmire, Sylvia Garcia and Borris Miles issued a statement Monday urging Harris County Commissioners to join the lawsuit.

“We were extremely disappointed to see the state’s leadership endorse legislation that strips local control from Harris County, incentivizes racial profiling, and makes our communities less safe,” the Senators said in a statement.

Sen. Garcia, state Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Houston City Councilman Robert Gallegos attended Tuesday’s meeting where they urged Commissioners Court to join the lawsuit.

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