Ken Paxton

Texas Senate expected to consider rules for AG Ken Paxton's impeachment trial

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Rules on the impeachment trial of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are expected to be considered by the Texas Senate on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the proposed rules have not been disclosed publicly. The Texas Senate is expected to hear from a seven-senator committee that was directed to create the rules to govern Paxton’s impeachment trial.

The committee was created on the final day of the regular session late Monday, with permission to meet in private.

Michael Maslanka, an assistant professor of law at UNT Dallas, described Tuesday’s expected development a major milestone in the impeachment process.

“It decides how the trial will be conducted,” Maslanka said. “There’s not a lot of precedent. There are only two impeachment trials, right? One was in 1917, the other is in 1975. But the Senate has to vote under our constitution to adopt the rules of the role. What are the rules of the role going to be in this trial?”

The seven members on the committee are: Sen. Brian Birdwell, (R-Granbury) who is serving as Chair, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen), who is serving as Vice Chair, Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Sen. Phil King (R-Weatherford) and Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas).

Most members of the committee declined to comment on the pending rules when NBC 5 reached out Tuesday.

Paxton was impeached by the Texas House on May 27 by a vote of 121 to 23.

In a statement released Monday, June 19, Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, wife of the suspended attorney general, said she will not be recusing herself from impeachment proceedings. But, she did not outright say whether or not she will recuse herself on a vote to remove him from office.

In the statement, Sen. Paxton added that she holds her Senate obligations "sacred" and will carry out her duties:

"I have twice been elected to represent the nearly one million Texans who reside in Senate District 8, and it is a tremendous honor and privilege to be their voice in the Texas Legislature. Each time I was elected, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this great state, and Texas law compels each member of the Senate to attend when the Senate meets as a court of impeachment. As a member of the Senate, I hold these obligations sacred and I will carry out my duties, not because it is easy, but because the Constitution demands it and because my constituents deserve it.”

At a press conference Tuesday on property tax relief, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not offer answers on when the Texas Senate would potentially consider the rules.

The trial is expected to begin no later than August.

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