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Weekly Update from Attorney General Ken Paxton: December 2, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016 – Austin


President Obama, for the last eight years, has given more thought to his political legacy than he ever has to the U.S. Constitution. So much so, historians should dedicate the first chapter of their biography of him to the utter lawlessness that prevailed under his administration. Time and again, the president has willed his policy preferences into existence without ever consulting, never mind getting the consent of, Congress. It has now fallen to the states to man the fences and work tirelessly to rein the federal government back within the bounds the Founders set.

Along those lines, my office joined 17 other states in filing suit against a new federal rule established under the Endangered Species Act, which, if left unchallenged, would broadly expand the definition of “critical habitats.” Our case briefing explains that the change would allow the federal government to designate areas as a critical habitat even if they are unoccupied and/or fail to contain biological features essential to conservation. I commented to the press that, once again, “the Obama administration is hiding behind bonus rules to perpetuate land grabs, kill energy projects and block economic development.”

In other relevant news, my office saw a major success in its fights against the U.S. Department of Labor’s illegal overtime rule. A federal judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction only days before the rule would have gone into effect. The promulgated rule would have doubled the threshold for overtime pay, which meant the salaried workers who made less would find themselves bound to a nine-to-five like schedule, even if they preferred otherwise. Economists also expected businesses to have to cut their employees’ hours and possibly reduce their workforce so as to soften the regulatory blow.

I take special pride in this last victory. Not only has the preliminary injunction slowed the federal government’s creep into the market economy, but it has also given a reprieve to Texas workers. The Obama administration unfortunately refuses to accept any limit on its authority. It has elected to file an appeal despite only having weeks left in office. The good men and women who labor in the Attorney General’s office will not allow their wide feint undo what we accomplished. The new Republican administration now has the opportunity to reverse President Obama’s error and prevent thousands upon thousands of hardworking Americans from suffering under this misguided rule. We hope they seize that chance.

You can read more about the case briefing and judge order respectively below. 

Habitat Lawsuit

Overtime Rule Order

Very Truly Yours,

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Ken Paxton