Supreme Court puts temporary pause on Uplift Harris


The Supreme Court of Texas has temporarily blocked Harris County’s new guaranteed income program, Uplift Harris, after two lower courts denied Attorney General Ken Paxton’s requests to stop the payments.

Paxton sued Harris County earlier this month, alleging its new income program violates a state law that prohibits the gift of public funds to any individual.

Harris County had selected and notified recipients and was preparing to mail the first $500 monthly checks this week. Paxton sought court action to block that move, but a Harris County district judge and the 14th Court of Appeals rejected his requests.

The Supreme Court of Texas sided with Paxton on Tuesday, granting a temporary pause while the court considers the legal arguments. Supreme Court justices are elected statewide, and all nine members currently are Republicans.

“Without regard to the merits, the Court grants an administrative stay as follows: Real parties in interest and their agents are prohibited from making payments under the Uplift Harris program pending further order of this court,” the court said in a short order.


Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the county’s public health department was in the process of sending out the checks when the program came to an abrupt halt.

“Our public health director pressed the button, so to speak, but before the funds began transferring, the Supreme Court made its ruling,” Hidalgo said.

Paxton’s office has argued that the program doesn’t have sufficient controls in place over how the funds are spent.

Hidalgo added on Tuesday that around 300 households selected for the program were not going to receive the payment this week because they had not completed the required paperwork.

“That just underscores how this program carefully vets the applicants,” Hidalgo said.

See here for the previous entry. The Court has requested that Harris County respond to the state’s motion by April 29, which is to say next Monday, so hopefully we’ll get a quick ruling. I can’t say I’m optimistic but I’m hoping for the best anyway. Houston Landing and the Trib have more.

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7 Responses to Supreme Court puts temporary pause on Uplift Harris

  1. Ken says:

    Paxton’s argument is that money shouldn’t help those in our society that need it, it should go to his wealthy owners that need a little more. Republicans are only fiscally conservative when it comes to those they hate.

  2. Andrew Lynch says:

    Harris County and City of Houston are running overbudget. Pausing this free money program is a prudent decision.

  3. Ken says:

    It’s prudent not to help the vulnerable, got it. Let the city decide. Doesn’t Paxton have some more porn sites to sue? Doesn’t he have anything better to do? The government is supposed to work for the people. Texas government hasn’t done that for years.

    I’m sick of shitty Republicans twisting into knots justifying their utter contempt for the vulnerable. The total disdain for their constituants is sociopathic. I guess it’s too “woke” to have some empathy for people.

  4. C.L. says:

    Andrew, if the funds for Uplift Harris are coming from…

    “Uplift Harris draws roughly $20 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. It was designed to provide $500 monthly income payments for 18 months to just over 1,900 households living below 200% of the federal poverty line.”

    …how does the budget issues for Harris Cty and the CoH have anything to do with a Federal program disbursement ? You think the Feds told Sly Turner or John Whitmire, here’s $20M – you can disp it to your needy folks, or you can just deposit the check into your budget account – whatever you want to do ?

  5. C.L., City of Houston (and many other municipal and county governments) did exactly that… they used ARPA funds to help cover their budget deficits. Rather than give that money away, Harris County could use those funds to help cover costs in the hospital district, county jail, law enforcement, etc.,Rescue%20Plan%20Act%20(ARPA).,Rescue%20Plan%20Act%20(ARPA).

  6. Meme says:

    One can’t argue with the MAGA cultists; they live in an alternative world where up is down.

  7. C.L. says:

    Manny ! Finally something we can agree on ! 🙂

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