The governor of Texas wins again
Back in the COVID days of "masks," Governor Abbott opened up Texas and things got back to normal by the end of 2020. Nevertheless, some county leaders decided to enforce their own mask mandates and challenge the governor directly. In the end, the governor prevailed in the Texas courts:
Settling a heated pandemic-era debate between Gov. Greg Abbott and leaders of the state's major urban areas, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the governor had the legal authority to forbid local officials from requiring residents to wear masks in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"It is disappointing and dangerous — but not surprising — that the Texas Supreme Court yielded to the state's partisan political fight against local governments, ruling that the governor's emergency powers can be used to prevent local officials from actually dealing with emergencies," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
And it answers a two-year-old debate: whether Abbott overstepped his authority by banning local leaders from enacting their own mask mandates during a public health emergency.
It had little to do with science and more with playing politics. As you may know, our cities have tilted Democrat in contrast to suburbs and rural areas, where the GOP is stronger. It was literally mayors and some county executives just fighting the governor.
The court's ruling is moot today because the state Legislature banned local jurisdictions from requiring masks, vaccines, or business shutdowns. Nevertheless, the ruling is a significant victory in the courts and confirms the governor's powers. This is important because this won't be the last time that a GOP governor gets into a fight with Democrats in places like Austin and El Paso.
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