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Texas Judge Blocks Overtime Rule Challenged by Paxton, Others

Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a May 25, 2016, press conference.

A federal judge in Sherman has blocked a White House effort to make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay, handing a victory to Texas and 20 others states that had challenged the new Labor Department rule.

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted a nationwide injunction Tuesday against the rule, which was set to go into effect Dec. 1. The rule aimed to double the salary threshold under which employees qualify for overtime pay, extending it to an estimated 4.2 million more workers. 

In September, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton teamed up with his counterpart in Nevada to file a lawsuit challenging the rule on behalf of 21 states. They argued it amounted to overreach by the federal government that would place a new burden on businesses. 

Paxton reiterated Tuesday that the rule "hurts the American worker."

"It limits workplace flexibility without a corresponding increase in pay and forces employers to cut their workers hours," Paxton said in a statement. "All in all, it exchanges the advantages of negotiated benefits, personal to each worker, with a one-size-fits-all standard that only looks good in press statements. Not on my watch." 

The rule was set to lift the salary threshold from $455 per week to $913 week. The states had specifically argued that the threshold overlooks the fact that some workers in the salary range perform management duties that would disqualify them from receiving overtime. 

Texas and Nevada were joined in the lawsuit by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. 

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