Over the past few weeks, we have seen example after example of local government run amok.
A few local officials have distorted Governor Abbott’s common sense guidance on the coronavirus. As a result, they have ignored the Constitutional and God-given rights of Texans.
Judges, mayors, and county officials have attempted to impose restrictions that not only go beyond the governor’s orders, but do real harm to the freedoms we all enjoy.
Harris County’s mask ordinance, the jailing of Dallas salon owner Shelly Luther, and the arrest of Laredo beauticians Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata are just high-profile examples of what Texans across the state have faced due to bureaucratic overreach.
My office will not tolerate local public health ordinances that are unlawful and confusing.
- onerous and unreasonable restrictions on houses of worship,
- additional regulations on essential services,
- shelter-in-place demands,
- penalties for not wearing masks,
- criminalizing health order violations, and
- failing to differentiate between a recommendation and a mandate.
Today, I sent letters to Dallas, Bexar, and Travis counties, as well as Austin and San Antonio, to make clear that they have grossly exceeded state law and their authority by imposing these restrictions on citizens and businesses.
I trust that local officials will correct these confusing and legally-baseless orders as we continue the process of re-opening the state.
As your Attorney General, my first responsibility is to defend the life, liberty, and property of every Texan.
These letters, and any further actions that may be necessary, should make clear to every official at every level of state government that the rights of Texans are not negotiable.