This Week in Texas: May 9th, 2012

Posted May 16, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

Early voting for the May 29th primary election begins Monday, May 14th and continues through Friday, May 25th.  Candidates are busy with last ditch efforts to be noticed by the electorate so expect to hear a lot of advertisements on television and radio the next three weeks.

There was a lot of action in federal court last week regarding the Texas Women’s Health Program.  Under a state rule adopted in accordance with legislative directive, all Women’s Health Program participants had to certify by May 1st that they do not promote abortion or affiliate with organizations that perform or promote abortions. A day before the rule took effect, Federal Judge Lee Yeakel found that the rule violated Planned Parenthood’s First Amendment rights.  Judge Yeakel set a May 18 conference to schedule a trial date to determine whether the injunction should be made permanent.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately appealed Yeakel’s order to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and requested an emergency stay, which was granted by one judge – Judge Jerry Smith – shortly before midnight, when the abortion affiliate rule was to take effect. Then on Friday, May 4, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the emergency stay, meaning that once again Texas is banned from excluding Planned Parenthood from the initiative.  So the WHP continues as is and the parties will argue their cases on May 18th.