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Uncertain future awaits bill trying to repeal SB4

Governor must first allow SB42 in special session

SAN ANTONIO – Yet to be filed Senate Bill 42, which would repeal the state’s so-called sanctuary cities law, may be dead on arrival without Gov. Greg Abbott allowing it to be heard during the special session. 

“If I don’t do what I can, then I’m not making a statement, and I think these statements need to be made,” said Texas Sen. Jose Menendez, D-District 26 of San Antonio.

Al Kauffman, a professor at the St. Mary’s School of Law who is a civil rights attorney and constitutional law expert, said he understands the importance of keeping the issue in the public eye.

“Look at what Republicans did, trying to repeal Obamacare,” Kauffman said. “They knew it would fail, but they kept the issue alive.”

Kauffman said he’s teaching a class on the Texas Legislature that is studying Senate Bill 4, which Menendez calls the “show me your papers” law.

Without a point of order to consider a bill outside the Governor’s 20 priorities for the special session, Kauffman said SB42 “can be stopped from moving on in the process.” He said given SB4 passed by a large majority in the Texas House and along party lines in the Texas Senate, “I think it’s unlikely to be heard.”

Kauffman said it’s still possible since SB4 has been met with “tremendous opposition both politically and legally.” He suggests the Legislature review it again with their lawyers and with both sides of the issue.

He said they might decide “the better course would be to revoke it in the Legislature.”

Federal rulings are pending on the constitutionality of SB4. They are expected to come down before the law goes into effect Sept. 1.

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