AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is giving the City of Austin until 6 p.m. Wednesday to rescind its mask mandate, or else he’ll sue.
Paxton’s office sent a letter to Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown warning them of the possibility of a lawsuit.
On March 3, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order rescinding all State COVID-19 safety protocols, including masking mandates, which overrides any local mayor or county judge's orders that conflict with his order.
On March 7, the Adler said the City will continue to enforce masking and all other public health mandates that was established independently by the Medical Director and Health Authority for Austin Public Health Dr. Mark Escott.
“Dr. Escott is the appointed public health physician and expert to whom our community entrusts our public health,” Adler said “His opinions, based on science, and data which further supports CDC guidelines have been consistent and have been and are reflected in the orders he has issued. He is committed to defeating COVID-19 in Austin and Travis County and the City will employ whatever tools are available to support his orders for the sake of all Austin schools, businesses and residents."
The City of Austin says state law gives local health authorities the ability independent of the disaster or emergency powers elsewhere granted to mayors and county judges.
Click the video link above to watch our interview with Judge Brown about how the county plans to proceed.