AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is threatening to sue the City of Austin, after the city decided to keep its mask mandate and COVID-19 orders in place despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to lift those protocols Wednesday statewide.
“You and local health authorities have until 6:00 pm today to rescind any mask mandates or business-operating restrictions and come into full compliance with GA-34,” Paxton wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “Otherwise, on behalf of the State of Texas, I will sue you.”
He called out Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown in the tweet.
In a letter to Adler and Brown, Paxton said it’s not up to local jurisdictions to decide how businesses will operate. Under the new order, businesses are able to decide for themselves whether to require masks or capacity restrictions.
In an interview with NewsNation affiliate KXAN Tuesday, Adler said, “there’s two state laws in the health and safety code of the state, that specifically gives cities the ability to enforce laws reasonably necessary to protect the public health.”
This past July, Adler said they passed an ordinance that the local health authority will have the force of law in Austin and Travis County.
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar responded to Paxton’s tweet, saying, “while El Paso rolled out makeshift morgues, you sued them for protecting residents. While Texans froze in the dark, you fled the state for warmer weather. Now, you’re going out of your way (again) to win political points, even if it costs lives. We’ll see you in court.”