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Texas Supreme Court rules San Antonio Justice Charter will remain as one ballot item

Amy O'Donnell, the communications director for Texas Alliance for Life, speaks to the press about voting no on Proposition A and a lawsuit attempting to break it up. Behind her are other Texas Alliance for Life members and Congressman Tony Gonzales.
Josh Peck
Amy O'Donnell, the communications director for Texas Alliance for Life, speaking against Prop A at a press conference with Congressman Tony Gonzales in early March.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled last week that the San Antonio Justice Charter, also known as Proposition A, will remain as one ballot item in the May 6 municipal election.

The ruling came after anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life filed an emergency writ of mandamus in mid-February. The group argued Proposition A should be broken up into multiple city charter amendments because it contains a range of policy reforms, including the decriminalization of abortion and marijuana possession.

They said it’s a violation of state law because it’s illegal for city charter amendments to contain multiple subjects. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in support of the effort

In a 6-3 decision, the court’s ruling said they denied Texas Alliance for Life’s petition because they had a “longstanding commitment to avoid undue interference with elections.”

Despite not breaking up Prop A before the municipal election, the court’s ruling said a potential future post-election challenge could still affect Prop A if it were passed.

In response to the Texas Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Alliance for Life’s Communications Director Amy O’Donnell released a statement.

“We are tremendously disappointed in the Texas Supreme Court's decision to allow the San Antonio Proposition A charter amendment to remain on the May 6 ballot, despite obvious violations of state law," O’Donnell said in the statement. "We raised significant reasons in our briefs on how Prop A violates voter's rights."

She added in the statement that Texas Alliance for Life would now turn to organizing voters against Prop A in the election.

In a statement released by Ground Game Texas and ACT4SA, Ground Game Texas’ political director and general counsel Mike Siegel said the court’s decision safeguarded democracy.

“Direct democracy is a principle at the foundation of our society, and the Court’s decision protects that principle,” he said. “The people of San Antonio have a constitutional right to amend their city charter and pass much-needed criminal justice reform. We look forward to putting this groundbreaking initiative in front of the people of San Antonio this May.”

Prop A would deprioritize enforcement of abortion and low-level marijuana crimes, expand and codify the county’s cite-and-release program, ban no-knock warrants and police chokeholds, and appoint a city Justice Director to oversee city justice policy, though the city attorney has said only the Justice Director position is enforceable.

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