With the start of the state legislative session just weeks away, one lawmaker is asking for guidance from the state’s top lawyer on whether the Capitol can continue to remain closed to the general public.
In a formal request for opinion sent to Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday, State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) seeks an opinion on whether public access to the Texas Capitol is constitutionally protected.
“Under the U.S. Constitution, Texas Constitution, and Texas state law, must the Capitol be open to allow the citizens of Texas to petition their government, specifically in terms of public access to the Texas Capitol in order to testify during legislative committee hearings regarding the budget and proposed legislation?” Cain asked Paxton.
Cain also asked whether any elected official or state agency has the power to close the Capitol, and if so, under what circumstances.
Additionally, Cain asked Paxton whether lawmakers were constitutionally required to vote and debate physically and in-person.
Leaders in the Republican Party of Texas passed a resolution demanding the Capitol reopen without restriction this past weekend, as the building has been closed to the public since March.
The legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 12, 2021.