How Ken Paxton Is Trying To Protect The First Amendment Rights Of Chick-fil-A

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Jill AmentMarch 29, 2019 2:48 pm,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Emily Ramshaw, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.

One controversy involved Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Atlanta-based fast-food company Chick-fil-A. Paxton is investigating whether the city of San Antonio violated the company’s First Amendment rights.

“The city council basically voted to prevent Chick-fil-A, a franchise known for opposing same-sex marriage, from opening a location in the city’s airport,” Ramshaw says.

In a letter, she says Paxton wrote: “The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken.’”

Though Chick-fil-A has previously said it doesn’t discriminate, it has made donations to organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which opposes same-sex marriage.

“Ken Paxton, a big defender of religious liberties – he’s going to come out swinging here in defense of those waffle fries,” she says.

In other news, an artificial cap on who gets access to special education in public schools has been a big story in Texas.

“The feds have demanded a fix,” Ramshaw says. “Texas is in the middle of this federally mandated overhaul of special education; they’re preparing to ask the feds for $1 billion in special education grants to help fix the system.”

Ramshaw says Texas is planning to implement the changes in June 2020. Advocates, however, are unhappy with the timeline, saying 2020 isn’t soon enough, especially since the problem has persisted for years.

And state legislators are, again, debating issues related to abortion. A Senate panel planned to have a hearing over a controversial abortion bill, Senate Bill 23,  this week. It addresses rare cases of infants who survive an abortion.

“Four Democrats who were supposed to be at the committee hearing boycotted [it],” Ramshaw says. Another Republican was missing, and Ramshaw says “there wasn’t a quorum to take up the bill.” But she says eventually, the bill did pass out of the committee.

Ramshaw says it’s one of three anti-abortion bills that Lt. Gov Dan Patrick has named as priorities.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.


Written by Brooke Reaves.