And now the fun really begins.
A federal lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon in an effort to prevent Houston residents from voting on whether to ban red-light cameras.
Multiple sources told KPRC Local 2 that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Houston resident and Keep Houston Safe, a political action committee.
The suit seeks to block the proposed charter amendment from being placed on November’s ballot on the grounds that it violates the city charter and would dilute minority voting strength, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
14. Chapter 9 of the Texas Local Government Code, governing the procedures for amending a city’s charter, has been amended by the Texas Legislature multiple times since the adoption of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Multiple preclearance submissions were submitted by the State addressing legislative amendments, including changes to the number of signatures required to place a matter on the ballot; changes in the uniform date for charter amendment elections; and validating statutes for previous charter amendments. Most notably, what has not been precleared is the use of a charter amendment petition to circumvent or otherwise bypass express limitations or prohibitions adopted by voters and incorporated into a home-rule municipality’s city charter.
15. By accepting the Petition as a charter amendment petition, rather than the appropriate designation as a Referendum petition, Defendant has instituted a change in election-related policies and procedures that must be pre-cleared in accordance with S5 of the Voting Rights Act.
16. Because the Camouflaged Referendum has been improperly placed on the ballot, a potential for racial discrimination exists. More specifically, minority voters may lose their ability to ability to elect candidates of their choice in local, statewide, and federal elected offices.
You had me till that last sentence, but I suppose that’s the way VRA claims go. It’s just that seeing Andy Taylor – Andy Taylor! – give these arguments is fixing to make my head explode. Anyway, the suit asks for a three-judge panel, and all deliberate speed and so on. We’ll see what happens.