Leon|Alcala, PLLC

Sine die, the last day of the 88th legislative regular session, is fast approaching. Several bills that are still active could affect school district construction procedures and future school construction projects. The potential impacts of these bills and their current statuses are analyzed below.

Lawyers for suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are forcefully trying to discredit a recent House impeachment vote and predicted that the Senate will acquit Paxton at a trial they say they want to postpone until after this summer. High-profile Houston attorneys Tony Buzbee and Dan Cogdell, new to the case this week, came out swinging at a theatrical news conference Wednesday that was heavier on emotion than on specifics about how they plan to defend Paxton against the allegations and try to clear the way for him to return to office. “Ken Paxton will never be convicted by the Senate,” Buzbee said. Cogdell added, “He is absolutely 100% innocent of these accusations.” view article arw

A Hidalgo County grand jury has no-billed Hidalgo ISD Athletic Director Monty Stumbaugh whose attorney describes an assault charge filed against him in March as a “political hit job” with no basis in fact. The news follows the decision of a grand jury last month to no-bill Hidalgo Early College High School Principal Rafael Tinoco, who describes his related arrest on a witness tampering charge as an “attempted political take-down” in a $20 million federal lawsuit filed in April, which was amended this weekend with additional exhibits. view article arw

A one-time substitute teacher in Mesquite who allegedly encouraged students to fight in the classroom now faces criminal charges. According to reports, a Dallas County grand jury indicted 24-year-old Natally Garcia on four counts of endangering children. view article arw

Attorneys for embattled Republican Ken Paxton are calling on the Texas Senate to dismiss the impeachment case against the suspended attorney general. Tony Buzbee, the leading attorney representing Paxton, said Wednesday that the evidence used by the House is so flawed the Senate should not take it into consideration. “Look at this foolishness, look at what has been put in front of you. If you even consider it — because no court of law would, no court of law in this country would even consider it — but if you decide to consider it should be thrown out in a one-page motion,” Buzbee said during a press conference at the Austin headquarters of the Republican Party of Texas. view article arw

Itasca ISD Superintendent Michael Stevens has been suspended, days after he was arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor. The Itasca ISD Board of Trustees met early Monday morning and took immediate action to suspend Stevens. The board has appointed Keith Boles to serve as interim superintendent, starting June 6. Itasca ISD says Boles has previously served in the district as interim superintendent and "is known and respected by our community." view article arw

“The Board of Trustees met today to take immediate action to suspend Superintendent Michael Stevens from his role of superintendent of schools,” the board wrote in a statement, “The Board took this action in response to the arrest on Thursday, June 1 of Mr. Stevens.” view article arw

The Tennessee law that prohibits drag shows in front of children is unconstitutional, a U.S. judge ruled on June 2. The Adult Entertainment Act (AEA) “is both unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker, a Trump appointee, said in the ruling. The law makes it a criminal offense for a person to “perform adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in a place where it could be viewed by a minor. Adult cabaret entertainment is defined in the law as shows featuring strippers, men dressed as women, or similar entertainers. The law was signed by Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on March 2 after being approved by the state Legislature. However, before it took effect, Parker temporarily blocked it after finding that the law was “likely both vague and overly broad.” view article arw

Political activists financed by two billionaire oilmen — famous for backing right wing Republicans — are riding like cavalry to save suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton from a scalping in the Texas Senate. Billionaires Tim Dunn and Ferris Wilks are arguably the most influential donors to right wing candidates and causes in Texas, funneling tens of millions of dollars to political action committees and candidates that espouse their religious-right and anti-public-school agenda.  Michael Quinn Sullivan, long considered the enforcer of right wing orthodoxy in Austin. Dunn and Wilks are widely reported to finance Sullivan’s activities.     tickland, Rinaldi and Sullivan are leading a public campaign to stop the Texas Senate from permanently removing Paxton following his impeachment on 20 corruption charges.  The same group also wants to remove Dade Phelan as speaker of the House.  The day before the debate over impeaching Paxton, Stickland went on Twitter promising a 2024 Republican primary challenger for any official who voted for impeachment.  “There will be one helluva price to pay for voting w/ @DadePhelan and Dems,” he tweeted on May 26. “Wait until you see my PAC budget … A vote to impeach @Ken-PaxtonTX is a decision to have a primary. Can’t wait to see who sides with Democrats.” view article arw

A judge set bond at $100,000 Friday morning for a North Texas school superintendent arrested in a Houston undercover sex sting involving an "underage girl." Michael Stevens, 47, remains in the Harris County Jail on a charge of online solicitation of a minor. During his hearing, prosecutors released graphic details of his conversations with the "15-year-old girl" who was really an undercover officer. view article arw

A coach at a San Antonio high school has been arrested and charged with having an improper relationship with a student, according to arresting documents. Authorities said the suspect is Alejandro Pena, who was a coach at West Campus High School in South San Antonio ISD. According to an arrest affidavit, a female student made a report to a South San ISD police officer. view article arw

The community of Itasca is in shock after the superintendent of Itasca ISD, Michael Stephens, was arrested and charged Thursday with online solicitation of a minor. According to the TEA’s academic record of Stephens, the 47-year-old has spent years working in education throughout Texas. “He has been a coach, a principal, and an assistant principal in various towns across north Texas,” said Alan Rosen, a constable in Harris County. view article arw

The 12-member team that will make the Texas House’s case for impeaching suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton is led by a Republican lawyer and rancher from West Texas and a Democrat who spent more than 20 years as a prosecutor and defense attorney in Harris County. Reps. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, and Ann Johnson, D-Houston, are chair and vice chair of the seven Republicans and five Democrats who will serve as impeachment managers during Paxton’s trial before the Senate later this summer. All but one of the impeachment managers has a law degree, and collectively, they have practiced in the state for about two centuries. Two are members of the ultraconservative Texas Freedom Caucus, and five — including Murr and Johnson — served on the House General Investigating Committee that drafted the articles of impeachment against Paxton. view article arw

Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office confirmed Thursday that Attorney General Ken Paxton will not be paid his $153,750 annual salary while he is on suspension. The state’s top lawyer was removed from office last week and is awaiting his impeachment trial before the Senate, which has not yet been scheduled. The Texas Tribune Salaries explorer logo Salaries Explorer Look up compensation for Texas state employees. Paxton was suspended from his duties Saturday when the Texas House voted to adopt 20 articles of impeachment ranging from accepting bribes to disregarding his official duties. The vote came two days after an investigative committee unveiled the charges. The committee had been meeting since March after Paxton asked the Legislature to approve the use of taxpayer money for a $3.3 million settlement for four former employees who were fired after accusing him of using his office to benefit a friend and political donor, real estate investor Nate Paul. view article arw

Lia Assimakopoulos with the Dallas Morning News explains the details of the allegations against the district. view article arw

Six top officials and employees at the Texas attorney general’s office have taken a leave of absence to help defend suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton in his impeachment trial this summer. Those employees are solicitor general Judd Stone, the agency’s top appellate lawyer; assistant solicitors general Joseph N. Mazzara and Kateland Jackson; Chris Hilton, chief of the general litigation division; senior attorney Allison Collins; and executive assistant Jordan Eskew. The news was first reported by the conservative website The Daily Wire. Jarrod Griffin, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, confirmed the report to The Texas Tribune. view article arw

When Jocelyn Spence hears her coaches call out to her in the softball field at shortstop, her gut reaction is fear. She sees the pitcher winding up. She knows she has only moments to process the information before the ball comes flying in her direction. At some point during her career at Prosper Rock Hill, she started to doubt her ability to react. view article arw

The former London Independent School District teacher who admitted to having an improper relationship with a student was rearrested on May 26. Court documents show Amber Prince allegedly violated her probation and she was rearrested on May 26. view article arw

The long list of accusations were outlined as part of 20 charges of impeachment adopted by the Texas House The long list of accusations were outlined as part of 20 charges of impeachment adopted by the Texas House view article arw

The Texas Legislature has never removed an attorney general. If the House votes to impeach, the Senate will hold a trial.  Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been at the center of several scandals, faces a possible impeachment. A Texas House committee voted Thursday to recommend the action, opening the way for the Texas House of Representatives to hold a hearing and decide whether to impeach the three-term attorney general. view article arw

The Texas House will vote on accusations that include bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and obstruction of justice. view article arw

The House Committee on General Investigating could be poised to censure or impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was re-elected by Republican voters just last year. At a Wednesday morning public hearing, the committee heard testimony from a group of four investigators secretly appointed by the committee back in March. During the three hours of testimony, little new information was brought to light. The investigators rehashed the ongoing indictment of Paxton on securities fraud charges that has been likened to a “political prosecution” for eight years and has been the focus of multiple political campaigns. The main focus of the investigator’s report, however, was a settlement reached with four former employees of the Office of the Attorney General who say they were fired unfairly. view article arw

Frisco ISD is facing several open federal civil rights investigations over complaints of alleged discrimination based on disability, sex, race and age. As previously reported by Local Profile, following a controversial book-reviewing and banning process, in November 2022, the Collin County school district’s board members voted to approve a bathroom policy forcing students to use bathrooms and other facilities according to the gender they were assigned at birth. The new policy prompted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a formal complaint against FISD citing that it would harm LGBTQ+ children. view article arw

A Garland mom says she wants answers following a viral video that shows her daughter being slammed to the ground by a school resource officer at North Garland High School. Garland Police said the incident is under investigation and the short clip doesn't show everything that happened. “I was sick to my stomach. I couldn’t handle it,” said Kirk. view article arw

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state’s top lawyer and one of its most powerful and controversial Republicans, has faced criminal investigations, legal battles and accusations of wrongdoing for years. Still, he’s remained popular with Texas voters and in 2022 was elected to serve a third four-year term. But after Paxton asked state budget writers to spend public money on a proposed $3.3 million settlement to end a lawsuit by former staffers who accused him of on-the-job retaliation, the Texas House General Investigating Committee launched a secret probe into the attorney general’s behavior. In a stunning public hearing on May 24, House investigators publicly detailed allegations of a yearslong pattern of misconduct and questionable actions by Paxton. view article arw

The grand jury of the 93rd District Court of Hidalgo County has dismissed all charges against Rafael Tinoco due to insufficient evidence supporting any criminal wrongdoing, according to a news release. Tinoco is the principal at Hidalgo Early College High School and was accused of tampering with a witness in an alleged assault case involving Athletic Director Monty Stumbaugh. view article arw

An El Paso Independent School District teacher was arrested on campus on suspicion of killing a man by hitting him with a steering wheel lock, an indictment states. Matthew Jacob Mendoza, 25, was arrested Thursday at Gen. Douglas MacArthur K-8 School in connection with a warrant in the 2021 death of Eric Hernandez, according to El Paso County Sheriff's Office officials and an indictment. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency is scheduled to outline its takeover plan at the final gathering of Houston ISD's elected trustees Thursday morning. With roughly two weeks until the TEA is planning to appoint a new superintendent and board of managers to govern the district, a representative from the state agency will present to the board its plan for the "transition from local governance to TEA governance of the district," according to the HISD meeting agenda. This will mark the second TEA presentation at an HISD board meeting. During the first presentation last month, Steve Lecholop, the agency's deputy commissioner of governance, gave a slideshow presentation and fielded heated questions from trustees. view article arw

Two students in Quanah have been suspended and may be facing criminal charges following allegations of a threat made against Quanah ISD schools. LOCAL NEWS: Victims in deadly Sunday morning crash identified Officials with the Quanah Independent School District announced in a Facebook post made on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, that two students have been suspended following threats they made against Quanah High School and Quanah Junior High. view article arw

The Lufkin ISD superintendent reveals that an employee of the company that was contracted to build a special needs playground embezzled the funds paid by the school district. In a special meeting of the LISD board, Superintendent Lynn Torres shared that the federal grant funds obtained to build a special needs playground had been stolen by an employee of the company the district contracted. view article arw

The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would bar cities and counties from regulating entire industries and professions beyond what’s in state law, putting the sweeping local crackdown on the verge of reaching Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. A priority of Republican state leaders, the measure would limit local regulations to being no more restrictive than what’s “expressly authorized” in the state codes covering business, labor, property and other wide-ranging areas. view article arw

Police arrested a juvenile in connection with online threats made against Lockney and Plainview Independent School Districts Tuesday. The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a threat made against Lockney ISD and began an investigation. Detectives determined a juvenile of Floyd County intentionally made threats via social media app Snapchat. view article arw

Ector County ISD police arrested a ninth-grade student at Permian High School for two separate charges -- Places Weapons Prohibited, a third-degree felony; and Theft of a Firearm, a state jail felony. A PHS staff member saw a student acting suspiciously outside the building and reported it to campus police. view article arw

A Northside ISD high school teacher has been arrested after police say she had an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to court documents. Stephanie Woods, 28, is a biology teacher as well as a basketball and tennis coach at Warren High School. A friend of the victim made the allegation to a therapist, who then reported it to police, according to arrest paperwork. The witness told the therapist that the 18-year-old victim is in an ongoing relationship with Woods. view article arw

Immigration experts say the impending end of Title 42 immigration enforcement will serve to benefit cartel drug and child trafficking operations at the expense of Americans. Lora Ries, a veteran of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told The Epoch Times that the coming influx of illegal immigrants will strip critical tools from Border Patrol and facilitate more cartel activity along the border. “Ending Title 42 is helping the cartels because it’s taking a tool away from border agents,” said Ries, who has more than two decades of experience in immigration and homeland security. Because no major policy changes seem forthcoming from President Joe Biden’s administration, “there will be more people coming and the cartels will get even richer,” she said. view article arw