Ex parte Elliott – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Ex parte Elliott, 973 S.W.2d 737, 741 (Tex. App.--Austin 1998, pet. ref'd), the Court considered, in the context of a habeas proceeding, whether the Legislature's incorporation of the Environmental Protection Agency's definition of "hazardous waste" was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority. See id. at 741.

The Court held that the Legislature intended to adopt the EPA's definition of hazardous waste that existed on the date the relevant legislation was enacted. See id.

In reaching our holding, the Court relied on supreme court precedent that:

(1) a statute that adopts another statute by reference adopts the referenced statute as it exists at the time of adoption, but not as it may be amended in the future, see id. (citing Trimmier v. Carlton, 116 Tex. 572, 296 S.W. 1070, 1074 (Tex. 1927));

(2) we must construe a statute subject to varying interpretations in a manner that assumes the Legislature's intent to enact a constitutional statute. See id. at 742 (citing Brady v. Fourteenth Court of Appeals, 795 S.W.2d 712, 715 (Tex. 1990)); see also Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 311.021(1) (West 2005) (establishing presumption that the Legislature intended for statutes to be constitutional); but see id. § 311.027 (West 2005) (providing that statutory references to a statute or rule applies to revisions or amendments to the statute or rule).