Category Archives: 2015

AG Opinion on Family Law

December 17th , 2015

 

The Honorable Ken Paxton

Attorney General

State of Texas  ATTN: OPINIONS COMMITTEE

300 West 15th Street

Austin, Texas  78701

 

Dear General Paxton:

This is a request for an Attorney General’s Opinion, which I am authorized to make under Section 402.042(b), Government Code.

My questions primarily concern the extent to which current law authorizes or requires a judge of a state court to refuse to apply foreign law in certain family law disputes.  By “foreign law,” I mean the law of a country other than the United States.   By “family law dispute,” I mean a legal dispute regarding a marital relationship or a parent-child relationship.  Each of my questions assumes the family law dispute is before a Texas court that has personal jurisdiction over the parties, children and/or property that are the subject(s) of the family law dispute, as well as having subject matter jurisdiction.

 

My specific questions are:

 

1.         May a judge refuse to enforce a judgment regarding a family law dispute, if the judgment resulted from an application of foreign law by a court or other tribunal of another country that violated (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

The Honorable Ken Paxton

Page 2

 

2A.      If the parties to a family law dispute voluntarily elect to engage in arbitration and the parties agree that foreign law will govern the dispute, may a judge refuse to enforce the decision of the arbitrator regarding the family law dispute, if the arbitrator’s application of the foreign law to the dispute would violate (1) a party’s right due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

 

2B.       If the parties to a family law dispute voluntarily elect to engage in arbitration and the parties voluntarily agree that the arbitrator will apply the principles of a particular faith to resolve the dispute, may a judge refuse to enforce the decision of the arbitrator regarding the family law dispute, if the arbitrator’s application of the principles of the parties’ faith to the dispute would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

 

  1. If, on the basis of established principles of conflicts of law, a judge determines that foreign law applies to a family law dispute, may the judge refuse to apply the foreign law to that dispute, if doing so would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

 

  1. If the parties to a family law dispute voluntarily enter into a contract that provides for foreign law to govern the dispute, may a judge refuse to enforce the contract provision (i.e., refuse to apply the foreign law to that dispute), if doing so would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

 

5.         If the parties to a family law dispute voluntarily enter into a contract that provides that the dispute will be resolved by a court or tribunal outside of the United States, may a judge refuse to enforce that contract provision (i.e., refuse to defer to the jurisdiction of a foreign court or tribunal), if application of

The Honorable Ken Paxton

Page 3

 

the foreign law that would be applied to the dispute in the foreign forum would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?

 

  1. If, on the basis of established principles of forum non conveniens, a foreign court or tribunal would be a more convenient forum for the resolution of a family law dispute, may a judge refuse to decline jurisdiction if the foreign court or tribunal would apply foreign law to the dispute that would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?
  2. Does a judge abuse his or her discretion if the judge allows the application of foreign law under a circumstance described in Questions 1 through 6 (above) and under those circumstances doing so would violate (1) a party’s right to due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution or (2) the public policy of this state?
  3. May a judge refuse to enforce a provision of a contract that is entered into voluntarily that provides for any of the following:
  4. An arranged marriage?
  5. Granting custody of a child to a conservator who would remove the child to a foreign jurisdiction that allows child labor in dangerous conditions?
  6. Granting custody of a child to a conservator who would remove the child to a foreign jurisdiction that lacks laws against child abuse?
  7. Granting custody of a female child to a conservator who would remove the child to a foreign jurisdiction that allows the practice of female genital mutilation?
  8. Granting custody of a child to a conservator who would remove the child to a foreign jurisdiction that allows a person to be subjected to any form of slavery?

 

The Honorable Ken Paxton

Page 4

 

  1. Providing for a consequence or penalty for breach of the contract that violates the public policy of this state, such as the infliction of bodily harm?

 

  1. May a judge refuse to enforce an adoption order entered by a foreign court or tribunal, if the order would result in a violation of fundamental rights, Texas law, or the public policy of this state?

 

10A.    May a judge refuse to enforce an agreement of the following type(s) that is signed voluntarily, if under the circumstances the agreement is unconscionable:

 

  1. A premarital agreement?
  2. An agreement between spouses to partition or exchange community property so that it becomes separate property of one of the spouses?

 

10B.     May a judge refuse to enforce a premarital agreement if the agreement violates the public policy of this state or a statute that imposes a criminal penalty?

 

  1. Under what circumstances does Chapter 36, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, authorize a judge to refuse to enforce a judgment of a foreign court regarding a

family law dispute where the judgment grants or denies payment of a sum of money to one of the parties?

 

 

The Honorable Ken Paxton

Page 5

 

 

I will appreciate receiving the answers to these important family law questions and look forward to receiving your opinion regarding each of them.

 

 

Please have the appropriate person contact my office should you have any questions.

 

Sincerely,

Representative Dan Flynn

 

House District 2

State Representative Dan Flynn Files for Re-Election

RepFlynn_Filing_Pic

Rep. Flynn files for re-election.

Today, State Representative Dan Flynn, R-Van, filed for re-election at the Republican Party of Texas Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Representative Flynn, Chairman of the House Committee on Pensions, said: “It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as State Representative for House District 2, and today I am filing to run for re-election.”

Flynn went on to say, “I am pleased that in the last session we prioritized public education, and fought to protect innocent life and religious freedom. We addressed important water issues, and took steps to improve transportation while upholding our constitutional responsibility of maintaining a balanced budget. Our economy continues to be affected by the challenges in funding public education, the decline in oil and gas prices as well as the continued challenge of funding healthcare.”

“With the anticipation of a new administration in Washington, I feel we will finally have the opportunity to receive assistance in securing our Southern border and will truly be able to address illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. I will continue my efforts for Texas to recognize only American law on American soil,” said Rep. Flynn.

“There is still so much to be done, and I would ask for your support to represent the constituents of House District 2, to continue fighting for your interests and for the good of all Texans.”

Aerospace Scholars Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Camie Lowman or Deb Derham
Phone:  281.483.4112
Fax:  281.483.3789
E-mail: jsc-aeroscho@mail.nasa.gov

REPRESENTATIVE FLYNN ANNOUNCES START OF 2015-2016 HIGH SCHOOL AEROSPACE SCHOLARS

Representative Dan Flynn is pleased to announce the launch of the 2015-2016 High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) project. HAS enables selected Texas high school juniors to explore new frontiers and become a part of NASA’s plan for space exploration.

Selected students will apply their math and science skills to complete web-based assignments during the school year, and those who score high enough will travel to Johnson Space Center in Houston during the summer to put those skills to use. With

the guidance of NASA scientists and engineers at Johnson, they will design a mission to Mars and take part in hands-on engineering challenges.

To be eligible, students must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • a Texas resident;
  • a current high school junior;
  • interested in science, math or engineering;
  • able to commit to the six-month online course and a one-week residential experience during the summer; and
  • able to access the Internet and e-mail (home, school or public library).

The state of Texas, in partnership with Johnson and the Texas educational community, developed HAS in 1999 to encourage students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Some 8,300 students from across Texas have participated in the program since its inception 16 years ago. Additional partners include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Rotary National Award for Space Achievement and University of Houston System.

High school juniors interested in applying for the 2015-2016 project should visit:

http:l/HAS.aerospacescholars.org/

 -end-

TSRA Press Release

Austin, TX, Saturday, March 7, 2015

Press Release:

On March 7th in Austin, Texas, the Texas State Rifle Association, the NRA state affiliate, honored State Representative Dan Flynn (HD2) of Van, Texas, as their 2014 Legislator of the Year, during the association’s annual members meeting.

Several years ago, the Texas Department of Public Safety ran critically behind in processing and issuing Texas concealed handgun licenses. Representative Flynn stepped up to the plate and began working to make changes to Texas law to fix problem plus to streamlining the licensing process in general.

During the 2013 session, Flynn passed HB 48, providing Texas licensees with an online renewal process, thereby eliminating both the cost and time of a renewal class. The immediate impact has been to provide licensees with an almost “perpetual CHL” and still benefits of having a nationally recognized concealed handgun license: ease of travel across states, substitutes for the NICS check when purchasing a firearm. The renewal is now accomplished with a click instead of the previous time-consuming, scavenger hunt.

Also, during the 2013 session, Representative Flynn worked to pass legislation to lower the number of classroom hours required to obtain a concealed handgun license.

HB 47 by Flynn reduced the number of classroom hours without impacting time spent qualifying on the shooting range. This has made the Texas concealed handgun license more accessible to busy adults while protecting public safety.

 

 

Thank you, Representative Dan Flynn, for your dedication to Texas gun owners. Thank you from the 840,000 Texans with a concealed handgun license and others who are now able to easily obtain this important personal protection option.

 

Note:

Texas House District 2, Hopkins, Hunt, and Van Zandt counties, has been represented in the Texas House of Representatives by Dan Flynn for 6 sessions.   He continues to be a designated “go to person for Texas gun owners”  and currently rated A+ by TSRA-PAC  and has been for many years.

 

++The Texas State Rifle Association, located at 8411 N. I-35, Austin, Texas, 78753, is the NRA state affiliate association.   Founded in 1919, the association balances legislative advocacy with outreach in the form of shooting sports, youth safety programs, and charitable giving through the TSRA Foundation. TSRA represents Texas gun owners before the state legislature. Membership and additional information can be found at www.tsra.com or www.tsrapac.com, or 512-615-4200. Email execdir@tsra.com (Doug DuBois, Jr.)

 

 

State Employee Retirement Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      CONTACT: Drew Graham

          March 10, 2015                                                                                                     PHONE: (512) 463-2054

 

                                        20150310_111120

 House Proposal Would Make Actuarially Sound

AUSTIN, TX –Today, State Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), Chair of the House Pensions Committee, joined by Representative John Otto, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Representative Sylvester Turner, Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, outlined a plan to return to solvency the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS).

They stated their intent to introduce legislation that will increase funding to the state employee pension system, making it actuarially sound.

The state’s Retirement Trust Fund currently has $7.5 billion in unfunded liabilities.

“With this legislation, we are keeping our commitment to our hardworking state employees in their retirement years,” Chairman Flynn said. “This is a vital benefit to employees who earn an average salary of approximately $45,000 a year.”

This legislation will fund the state employee pension without reducing benefits for current and future retirees, in conjunction with an increase in contributions by active state employees.  It will reduce unfunded liabilities for ERS, bringing it into compliance with state pension regulation, while also mitigating risk and burden to state taxpayers.

Chairmen Flynn, Otto and Turner announced the House’s intention to increase the state’s contribution to the pension plan, raising it to 9.5 percent of an employee’s pay. State agencies will continue to contribute 0.5 percent.

The employee contribution rate in current statute is 7.2 percent for 2016 and 7.5 percent for 2017. The plan outlined today increases that contribution rate to 9.5 percent for 2016 and 2017. In order to mitigate the effects of that increase, House leaders are proposing a 2.5 percent, across-the-board pay increase for state employees to take effect in 2016.

This is another important item that will signal to Wall Street that Texas has a plan to achieve actuarial soundness in its pension systems.  The legislation seeks to help ERS attain a finite amortization period. The legislation also seeks to help ERS and Texas to calculate and report lower unfunded liabilities under the new Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards.

“The Appropriations Committee recognizes the importance of prioritizing expenditures and fulfilling our obligation to state employees. This proposal accomplishes both of these goals while also attaining actuarial soundness,” said Chairman Otto.

 

 

###

Representative Flynn Appointed Chair to Pensions Committee

HOR Seal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                           Contact: Kelli Linza February 5, 2015                                                                                                                                     Phone: 512-463-0880

AUSTIN, TX– Yesterday, Speaker of the House, Joe Straus announced committee assignments for the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature naming State Representative Dan Flynn, (R-Van), Chairman of the House Committee on Pensions. The Pension Committee has oversight of the following state agencies: The Texas Emergency Services Retirement System, The Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, The Board of Trustees of the Employees Retirement System, the Board of Trustees of the Texas County and District Retirement System, the Board of Trustees of the Texas Municipal Retirement System, and the State Pension Review Board.

Representative Flynn said , “The issue of pensions is going to be extremely critical this session and I am looking forward to the challenge that awaits me and the other six members of the committee as we work to improve and maintain the soundness of our Pension Systems and the best way to provide for the future of our teachers, state, and municipal employees.”

Representative Flynn has previously served on the Pension Committee and also said he is looking forward and honored to continue to serve on the Investments and Financial Services Committee that he has served on since being in the Legislature and where he will provide his fifty plus years of banking & financial services experience.

Representative Flynn’s assignments also include appointment to the House Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement due to his expertise in homeland security. This Committee shall investigate and review the training and professional needs of law enforcement in the state of Texas, including the award and sufficiency of law enforcement training grants, methods of training, and types of training-including training in emerging or changing threats such as human trafficking, mental health crisis and confrontation, organized crime, and critical incident shooting. The Committee shall also examine and address emerging use of new technologies by law enforcement in policing and community interaction, including the use of body cameras, drones, and the rise of various information technology collection and sorting systems. The Committee will also examine any changes necessary to assure that each Texas law enforcement officer is provided with the necessary and appropriate tools and protocols to increase public safety of all Texans, including the safety of Texas peace officers.

####