Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are threatening to take school districts to court if they defy the state’s ban on mask mandates.
“The Texas Disaster Act clearly states the governor has the power to guide the state through emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Abbott and Paxton. “Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy the order will be taken to court.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins earlier Wednesday signed an emergency mask mandate order that would apply to child care centers, preschool through 12th grade schools, businesses, and Dallas County facilities.
“Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” Abbott wrote in a statement, announcing the filing of a petition to strike the Dallas County emergency order. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility — not government mandates.
“The state of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
Abbott and Paxton argue their executive order has “the force and effect of state law and supersedes local rules and regulations.”
Paxton added a Democrat judge is attempting to usurp the authority of the elected state political leadership.
“This isn’t the first time we have dealt with activist characters,” Paxton wrote in a statement. “It’s déjà vu all over again. Attention-grabbing judges and mayors have defied executive orders before, when the pandemic first started, and the courts ruled on our side – the law.
“I’m confident the outcomes to any suits will side with liberty and individual choice, not mandates and government overreach.”