“Marion forced to abandon tough sex offender ordinance over lawsuit threat for sex offenders
“Jennifer Luna firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 7, 2016 12:00 am
The city of Marion was given an ultimatum recently, as Texas Voices For Reason and Justice (TVRJ) and the Law Office of Richard Gladden sent a letter asking the city to repeal a local sex offender ordinance.
“There’s not a single council member, and/or person in the audience, or staff that wanted that rescission of that ordinance,” Marion Mayor Bill Seiler said.
The letter addressing the ordinance reads:
“This letter is to provide your city and its representative officials with notice, in accordance with the Sections 101.101 and 311.034 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code of a legal claim that I intend to file for TVRJ on behalf of its members … against the city of Marion.”
During a phone interview on Tuesday, Gladden explained that in 2007, current Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, who was then the Attorney General wrote a legal opinion that said general-law cities — cities with less than 5,000 population — do not have legal authority under Article 11, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution to implement permanent residency restrictions for sex offenders.
Abbott’s legal opinion says “A general-law municipality is a political subdivision ‘created by the State and, such as, possess(es) those powers and privilege that the State expressly confers upon [it].’ Tex. Dep’t of Transp. v. City of Sunset Valley, 146 S.W.3d 637 , 645(Tex.2004). We have found no law authorizing a general-law municipality to adopt this type of residence restriction. Thus, unless the Legislature expressly authorizes it, a general-law municipality may not adopt an ordinance restricting where a registered sex offender may live.”
The original Marion ordinance, Sect. 1 states:
“The City Council of the city of Marion finds that sex offenders who are required to register as a sexual predator under V.T.C.A., Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 62, present an extreme threat to the health, safety and welfare of children … locations where children regularly congregate in concentrated numbers wherein certain registered sex offenders and sexual predators are prohibited from loitering or prohibited from establishing temporary or permanent residency.”