Abbott, Paxton file petition in defense of mask mandate ban

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have filed a petition to strike down the actions of a Dallas County judge concerning the governor's ban on mask mandates.

On Tuesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins ruled Abbott's ban on mask mandates does not help combat the pandemic and granted Dallas County the authority, at least for now, to go ahead and defy the governor's order and require masks.

Abbott and Paxton both attest that Jenkins's order violates executive order GA-38, which prohibits government entities and officials from mandating masks, and state law.

Abbott and Paxton cite the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, claiming that it "clearly states" Abbott has the power to "guide the state through emergencies," such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks," said Abbott. "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."

Dallas County isn't the only county in the state pushing back against Abbott's mask mandate ban. 

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown have both signed orders requiring masks in public schools and city and county buildings.

A Bexar County judge granted a temporary restraining order for the city of San Antonio and Bexar County on Tuesday against the mask mandate ban.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg shared the news via Twitter, saying that the San Antonio Bexar County Health Authority has now issued a directive requiring masks in all public K-12 schools in Bexar County.

Harris County is also filing a lawsuit to challenge the executive order.
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