Category Archives: TX Attorney General

Misusing Painkillers: Dose Of Reality

.jpg photo of TX Ag at press conference
Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

AG Paxton Launches New Dose of Reality
Website to Educate Texans About the
Dangers of Opioid Abuse

AUSTIN, TX  –  In his office’s latest initiative to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, Attorney General Ken Paxton today launched Dose of Reality, a new comprehensive website to inform and educate Texans about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers.

The new site is available at DoseofReality.Texas.gov

Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids cost lives and devastate Texas families in every region of our state,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.  When patients are not well informed, these drugs can inflict far more pain than they prevent.  The Dose of Reality website is intended to give Texans the information they need to avoid those unintended consequences.  My office will continue to do everything it can to protect Texans from the opioid crisis.”

Dose of Reality provides individuals, patients, health care providers, teachers, coaches and others with opioid-related resources in one location, allowing for quick and easy access to vital information.

The new website includes details on approaches to preventing opioid abuse and addiction, proper pain management, safe storage of prescription painkillers and guidelines on responding to an opioid overdose.  It also features a statewide take back map of locations that accept prescription opioids for safe disposal.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

Each day, 115 Americans die of opioid overdoses.

Nationwide, there were 42,249 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas.

The death toll attributed to opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last two decades.

In 2017, Attorney General Paxton and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general initiated an investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices.  Last May, Attorney General Paxton filed a major consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act involving the company’s prescription opioids, including OxyContin.

The nationally acclaimed and award-winning Dose of Reality website was conceived by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), in September 2015 provided to Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska at no cost.  Attorney General Paxton’s office partnered with the Wisconsin DOJ, Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services on content development for DoseofReality.Texas.gov

To view the press conference, click here:
https://www.facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral/videos/381897475701392/

District Court Decision Reversed For PPH

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Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research.

AG Paxton Commends 5th Circuit
Decision Regarding Exclusion of
Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit after it reversed the district court’s decision preventing Texas from eliminating Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program.

“The 5th Circuit’s ruling shows that the district court applied the wrong legal standard,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail.”

During oral argument, the attorney general’s legal team recounted raw, unedited footage from eight hours of undercover videos showing violations of medical and ethical standards by Texas Planned Parenthood officials.  This footage was also described in the Fifth Circuit’s opinion.

In the videos, Planned Parenthood employees admit that some doctors performed abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research and would manipulate the timing and methods of abortions.

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Fetal Tissue Harvested For Research By Planned Parenthood.

The Fifth Circuit included a picture of the fetal tissue Planned Parenthood was harvesting. Federal laws prohibit researchers from performing abortions to secure fetal tissue for their own research under such circumstances, and prohibits modifying abortion procedures to obtain tissue for research purposes.

In December 2016, the inspector general of Texas Health and Human Services removed Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program for the video footage of actions that “violate generally accepted medical standards,” and for making false statements to law enforcement.

Though Planned Parenthood is still under investigation, it receives around $3.1 million a year in Texas Medicaid funding.

View a copy of the 5th Circuit decision here

These People Care Nothing For Women Nor Parents

.jpg photo of TX Attorney General Logo graphic
Texas Attorney General Logo graphic.

AG Paxton Defends State Laws
Protecting the Health and Safety of
Texas Women

AUSTIN, TX  –  A legal team from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. District Court in Austin to dismiss a baseless lawsuit brought by radical pro-abortion activists seeking to strike down virtually all abortion-related laws and regulations in Texas.

“It’s outrageous that these activists are so dedicated to their radical pro-abortion agenda that they want the courts to repeal laws enacted by the Texas Legislature to protect the health of women getting abortions, such as requiring the sterilization of medical instruments,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Many of Texas’ common-sense abortion regulations have been in place for decades, are similar to laws passed in a majority of the states, and have been upheld as constitutional by the courts.”

During oral arguments at today’s district court hearing, Attorney General Paxton’s office pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld requirements like those targeted in the lawsuit against Texas, affirming multiple times that the state has an interest in safeguarding women’s health and protecting unborn life.

Texas’ abortion-related laws include many common-sense rules, such as requiring that abortion clinics are licensed, surgical instruments must be sterilized, and more complicated and dangerous late-term surgical abortions must be performed in surgical centers rather than in a doctor’s office.  Texas is not alone in protecting the health and safety of women:

  • 40 states limit abortions to being performed only by a physician;
  • 44 states have parental involvement requirements; and
  • 29 states have laws requiring physicians to provide certain information to patients considering an abortion.

“My office’s solid legal arguments demonstrated that the lawsuit is attempting to use the judicial system to repeal laws that the state’s elected representatives passed to make sure women who have abortions do so with all the information they need and under conditions that are as medically safe as possible,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I’m hopeful the district court will agree with us and dismiss this baseless lawsuit.”

Need More Attorneys General Like TX And NM

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NM Attorney General Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General wants to handle fatal Child Abuse cases

Attorney General Hector Balderas wants New Mexico lawmakers to expand his authority by allowing him to take over child abuse cases resulting in death without having to wait for a district attorney to decline to prosecute, dismiss the case or ask for his help.

Why?  Balderas said in a phone interview Friday that his office is well equipped to handle such cases and he wants to be able to step in and help children whenever its resources are needed, “like the Navy SEALs.”

“When prosecutors have referred complex, tragic cases to us, we’ve had above-average success rates,” Balderas said.

Balderas said his office is uniquely equipped to handle complicated child abuse cases because his staff includes victim advocates, investigators, lawyers and appellate attorneys, meaning he could handle all aspects of a case without having to rely on other agencies to bring a case to trail.

“In every community, there are sometimes unhealthy tensions between law enforcement, child protective agencies and the DA’s Office,” Balderas said.  “But we are one unit.  We collaborate at every stage.  We are always working together.”

Under current laws, Balderas said, he has to wait for the prosecutor in the judicial district where a case arises to either ask for his help, dismiss a case or decline to prosecute before the Attorney General’s Office can jump in.

“To me, that’s just not sound policy when we are in a child abuse crisis,” Balderas said.  “Now is the time to make the attorney general an equal partner.  I shouldn’t have to ask for permission.  It shouldn’t be a failure in the system that triggers our ability to intervene.”

Balderas said district attorneys usually work well with his office but sometimes don’t agree on the best way to attack a case.

He pointed to a recent high-profile child abuse death in the Taos area in which authorities say a 3-year-old boy abducted by his father from the child’s mother’s home in Georgia was found dead after being denied medications and instead subjected to Islamic prayer rituals for healing.  Balderas said that case is an example of one that could have benefited from his office’s expertise.

The attorney general said he offered 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos his help at the outset of the Taos County case, but Gallegos didn’t consult with him until after a judge denied a motion to hold the defendants without bail while they await trial.

“I offered meaningful support and strategy so they could win and the community would get a timely and aggressive prosecution,” Balderas said.  “I don’t believe it’s collaboration when you are only calling after a loss or setback.”

Gallegos did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

In other cases, Balderas said, the state Children, Youth and Families Department has made investigative missteps that affected the outcome.

CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson said Friday she didn’t know enough about Balderas’ proposal to comment at length she welcomes the chance to partner with Balderas or any other law enforcement agency on improving front-end investigations to better protect the state’s children.  Jacobson added that her agency might not be affected if the law were changed because CYFD doesn’t participate in criminal investigations.

A spokesman for Second Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez in Albuquerque referred questions to New Mexico District Attorney’s Association President Dianna Luce.

Luce, a prosecutor in southeastern New Mexico, said in an email that Balderas had not contacted her organization about proposed legislation and that she cannot comment in her capacity as association president until she knows more.

“As the elected district attorney in the Fifth Judicial District,” she wrote, “I’m opposed to giving blanket authority to another entity outside of my district.  Our prosecutors have experience in prosecuting these types of cases and have successfully prosecuted child abuse resulting in death cases.”

In Santa Fe, First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna said in an email Friday he also hadn’t seen the proposed law change and wanted a chance to discuss it with Balderas and the District Attorney’s Association to see what exactly the attorney general proposes.

“I can’t speak for all district attorneys in our state,” Serna wrote, “but I would anticipate opposition to the Attorney General’s position, considering each DA is elected to their respective districts.”

Serna added that he has a “great working relationship” with Balderas’ office and will continue to request assistance or pull resources from the Attorney General’s Office when needed.

Balderas said he is working to draft legislation and find a legislative sponsor.

Ft Worth Has AntiFamily Agenda

.jpg photo of TX Attorney General Logo graphic
Texas Attorney General Logo graphic

AG Paxton Issues Letter to Ft Worth ISD
Demanding Public Access to Curriculum
and Protection of Parental Rights

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton today dispatched a letter to Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD) requesting a full and complete copy of the district’s human sexuality curriculum after the district repeatedly denied parents access to these public documents.

Parents reported that not only were their records requests denied, but their children were prohibited from bringing a copy of their textbooks home for review or from taking photos of the curriculum.

“Parents have the right to inspect and review information regarding what their child is learning and participating in while attending school,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “By law, public school curriculum should be fully available to the public, and parents retain their constitutional right to direct their own child’s upbringing. Denying parental and public access to curriculum of any kind is a clear violation the Texas Education Code.”

The letter requests that Fort Worth ISD provide a complete copy of their human sexuality curriculum, which has been used in 22 schools since 2015, to the Office of the Attorney General.

Two years ago, the Attorney General issued an opinion confirming that public school districts must grant parents access to all written records concerning their child’s education and activities.