Houston, Texas – The Texas Supreme Court denied Harris County’s request for emergency relief to temporarily block the September 1 implementation of Senate Bill 1750, which abolishes the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office. The court also set for oral argument the state’s appeal of the trial court’s ruling in favor of Harris County. That argument is set to take place on November 28, 2023.
The county requested emergency relief because if the law were to go into effect while the county’s case is pending and the county refused to abolish the elections administrator’s office, it is not clear how that would impact the November 2023 elections.
“I am disappointed that the Texas Supreme Court is quietly allowing the legislature to illegally target Harris County, instead of considering the arguments and timely deciding whether Senate Bill 1750 violates the constitution. We first learned of today’s decision from media, instead of from the court itself,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “From the start, Republican legislators pushed this law abolishing the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office to undermine local elections and score political points on the backs of the good people who run them. By setting the law to go into effect September 1, and not passing a single law to assist in the transition or provide additional funding, Republican legislators are making the job of running this November’s election much more difficult. It was on the Texas Supreme Court to rein in these bad-faith lawmakers. The court failed Harris County residents.”
“At the next Commissioners Court meeting on August 29, I will discuss the ruling and its implications with Commissioners Court members so that they can decide how best to proceed," added County Attorney Menefee.
Previously, a Travis County District Court judge had sided with Harris County on its request to temporarily block SB 1750 and issued a temporary injunction preventing state officials from enforcing the law. However, the office of the Attorney General of Texas appealed the District Court’s order to the Texas Supreme Court, forcing Harris County to seek emergency relief from the Texas Supreme Court.