This afternoon a Texas district court judge lifted the temporary restraining order on Houston’s equal rights ordinance and set a January court date for a trial regarding the validation of the repeal signatures. The issue will NOT be on the November ballot, much to the sadz of Texas Values leader Jonathan Saenz.
UPDATE: But wait, there’s more.
Also Friday, Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals denied a separate request from opponents to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on their petition and trigger a referendum. A three-judge panel ruled that the emergency writ of mandamus plaintiffs sought would have the same result as a favorable ruling in their pending lawsuit that went before Schaffer’s court Friday. The plaintiffs, the judges wrote, could appeal after a ruling comes down at the trial court level. Opponents filed the state district lawsuit last week after Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman announced foes had not gathered enough valid signatures to send the issue to voters. City Secretary Anna Russell initially counted enough signatures to send the issue to the ballot, with about 600 more than the required 17,269 signatures. Feldman then looked through all of the petition pages to see if those who gathered signatures met city charter requirements — that they were registered Houston voters and signed off each page, for instance. That process disqualified more than half the group’s 5,199 pages. In their suit, opponents claimed Russell’s original count should be the most important one and alleged Feldman had illegally inserted himself into the process.