Appeals court rejects Paxton appeal on Uplift Harris


A state appeals court on Monday ruled Harris County’s guaranteed income program may move forward, paving the way for checks to be sent out to low-income residents as soon as Wednesday.

An appeal by Attorney General Ken Paxton to the Texas Supreme Court is expected, county officials said Monday morning.

“The state will appeal, but we will continue to fight so that people have the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty,” Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee tweeted. “To the Texas Supreme Court we go.”

Paxton filed an emergency motion to block the payments with Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals last week after Harris County Judge Ursula Hall ruled the Uplift Harris program could move forward. A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to reject Paxton’s motion, according to the order.

The county plans to give monthly $500 stipends to more than 1,900 low-income residents using $20.5 million using federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The county could begin distributing the stipends as soon as Wednesday.


At a hearing before the district court on Thursday, lawyers with the Attorney General’s Office argued the program violates the Texas Constitution’s prohibition on granting “public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual … whatsoever.” The office also argued the county’s use of a lottery violates the state constitution’s equal rights provision.

Lawyers for the county argued Paxton’s office had failed to prove the program would harm the state.

See here, here, and here for the background. The question is not whether Paxton will appeal – he certainly will – but whether SCOTx will go consider it an emergency that requires them to step in before Wednesday. According to the Chron story, the 14th Court appellate panel was two to one Republican, and one of the two Republicans voted against Paxton here, so that offers some encouragement that he’ll be told to buzz off. I expect we’ll know soon enough.

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2 Responses to Appeals court rejects Paxton appeal on Uplift Harris

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    Breaking news: the state Supreme Court has now blocked the program again.

  2. Pingback: Supreme Court puts temporary pause on Uplift Harris | Off the Kuff

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