SAN ANTONIO – The group Act 4 SA got more than the 20,000 signatures it needed to put a charter amendment in front of voters, but it’s been met with a legal challenge before the city council puts it on the ballot.
Andrew Segovia, attorney for the City of San Antonio, said the proposition contains several elements, including ostensibly decriminalizing marijuana and abortion, banning police chokeholds and no-knock warrants and appointing a justice policy director.
This week, the city council is expected to sign off to put the proposition on the May 6 ballot. But it’s unclear if things may change due to the legal challenge.
“The Texas Alliance for Life has submitted a writ of mandamus to the Texas Supreme Court, and what that means is they are trying to compel the city to divide up the justice policy into separate propositions,” said Segovia.
It’s unclear whether the Texas Supreme Court will take up the issue, but in a statement, Act 4 SA says the justice charter all falls under the single subject rule. Every piece touched on criminal justice and, more specifically, police reform.
Community members signed for it to be on the ballot as a single amendment, and the proposal was written as a single amendment.
“The council has decided that the proper way to put it before the voters is as presented to the people signing the petition,” said Segovia.
ACT 4 SA says the changes would reduce unnecessary arrests, mitigate racial bias, and save scarce public resources, but the proposition faces yet another big challenge — current state law.
“A good number of the elements of the proposition are contrary to state law. To the extent they are contrary to state law, we will not enforce them,” said Segovia.
In the past, the Bexar County district attorney has said his office will not prosecute abortion-related cases or low-level marijuana offenses.
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Marijuana, abortion make San Antonio May ballot, but city attorney says ‘decriminalization’ efforts aren’t enforceable