Frisco, Texas (AP) A Texas judge says it’s time to consider the possibility of a new regulation to limit what people can do while they wait for a court hearing.
In an unusual ruling, U.S. District Judge Charles Guzman of Houston said Wednesday that a regulation he’d recently issued could become law if it was implemented by the Texas Legislature.
“We don’ t have to be in a state of perpetual uncertainty,” Guzman wrote.
“In this day and age, when people want to get on with their lives, we have no choice but to follow the rule of law.”
In June, Guzman issued a memo that urged the Legislature to adopt a law allowing a public hearing to determine if a proposed regulation is in the public interest, whether it would prevent future harm and whether it is needed to protect public health and safety.
The memo said the regulation could help the public better understand how a new state law might be applied in the future.
That document has been the basis of several lawsuits filed by public health advocates.
In the latest court case, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in court papers filed Wednesday that the government was not trying to prevent the public from taking action to protect the public health.
“If the government wants to use the public’s right to counsel to avoid complying with the law, it has the right to do so,” Paxton wrote.
Guzman said the new rule is not an attempt to prevent people from taking steps to protect their health and to protect others from harm.
The Texas Legislature passed a bill in July that would allow people to sue for a delay of the court hearing in order to avoid a lawsuit.
The Legislature said in the law that if a hearing is delayed because of a threat to the health or safety of a public or private person, the public has a right to have the hearing held and that a hearing must be conducted by a person designated by the court.
A court hearing, Guzmans memo said, is an “intervening action.”
If a hearing occurs, the hearing must go on as scheduled.
Guzzman wrote that the state could consider a regulation that could be implemented if it is adopted by the Legislature.
But, he said, “it cannot be the only option.”
The judge noted that the regulation would be issued under the Texas Public Health Act, which gives the state authority to regulate public health, and he said the Legislature is within its rights to use that authority.
“That authority is limited to the regulation of public health,” Guzmen wrote.
The judge said the government can take other measures to avoid taking action on a regulation it wants to enforce.
He said that he does not believe the Legislature could “use its power to take actions to avoid compliance with a law it does not have authority to enforce.”
The Texas attorney general’s office said in a statement that the ruling does not change the law.
It said the governor and Attorney General’s office have been working together to craft legislation that would address the public hearing requirements.
In its memo, the state argued that it has no authority to prevent anyone from seeking a public health exemption, even if the hearing would be delayed.
The attorney general said he and the Legislature are currently drafting legislation that addresses the issue.
The state has been drafting regulations since 2009.
Under the regulations, a person can ask a judge to delay the hearing to ensure the health of others, or he or she can ask the judge to grant an emergency injunction or to force a public agency to remove a public safety or health hazard.
Guzon said he was issuing the memo “to provide clarity and guidance” to lawmakers.
“I hope this provides them the guidance they need to protect our citizens from public health hazards that threaten public health or the health and welfare of others,” Guzon wrote.
A previous court decision by Guzman did not provide any guidance to the Legislature about whether it should act on the proposed regulation.
The current Texas case involves a lawsuit by a man who was paralyzed from the neck down after being struck by a car in June.
The driver of the car, James Clements, pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault of a peace officer.
Clements has been charged with resisting arrest and driving while suspended.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.
In July, the Texas attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston challenging the new regulations.
The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Association of Business, said the rules were an attempt by the state to preempt local public health officials from enforcing health and wellness requirements and were unconstitutional.
Guza, a former state attorney general, said in his memo that he believes “it is appropriate for the courts to have jurisdiction over the state’s regulatory schemes.”
He added that the federal courts have a similar jurisdiction to the U.C. Davis Center for Human Rights, which is housed at the University of California at Davis