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La Joya electioneering hearing reset

A judge Monday reset a hearing on a temporary injunction application regarding the city of La Joya’s electioneering ordinances for Friday.

Sitting City Councilman Esequiel “Chuck” Garza received a temporary restraining order last month preventing La Joya from enforcing a recently adopted electioneering ordinance and is seeking an injunction against the ordinance.

Garza argues that the ordinance — which prevents electioneering in the parking lot of the city’s sole polling place at the La Joya Youth Center — violates the Texas Election Code and runs contrary to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, effectively suppressing voters.

Originally, a judge set a hearing for the case for October 25.

A motion to recuse, however, led to the case being reassigned to Judge Robert Garza and reset for Monday.

Javier Peña, an attorney representing the city, said in court Monday that the city had not been given proper notice of the hearing.

Peña also filed a plea to the jurisdiction Monday morning, requesting the court dismiss the suit because it lacks standing.

Isaac Sulemana, the city’s regular legal counsel, said both of those things prompted Judge Garza to reset the hearing.

Frank Garza, one of Chuck Garza’s lawyers, took issue with that.

Chuck Garza’s legal counsel originally thought the temporary restraining order issued would allow electioneering in the parking lot of the youth center.

Instead, the city went back to enforcing a pandemic-era ordinance — which prohibits electioneering anywhere on public property.

Frank Garza asked for the court to consider preventing the city from enforcing that ordinance as well, which would have allowed electioneering at the youth center.

“Early voting ends this Friday. This is the second week, then Election Day is next week. So for them to reset, they’re all for that, because they can continue to now block voter participation at the polls with that COVID ordinance that’s in place,” he said.

Peña argued that Chuck Garza and his lawyers had gotten exactly what they asked for with their TRO application.

“If that was an oversight, we cannot be punished for plaintiff’s oversight in their drafting,” he said.

Judge Garza rescheduled the hearing for Friday, November 3 at 9 a.m.

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