Ken Paxton (R-Texas), the Attorney General of Texas, has filed a lawsuit against the state’s capital city of Austin on Thursday after the city refused to rescind its mask mandate, as reported by The Hill.
The lawsuit names Mayor Steve Adler (D-Texas), Travis County Judge Andy Brown, and interim Medical Director Mark Escott. The suit comes after Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) announced on March 2nd that he would be officially and completely reopening the state of Texas via executive order, rescinding all mask mandates and allowing all businesses to reopen to 100 percent capacity.
However, some localities have opted to keep the restrictions in place, with Austin being chief among them.
“I told Travis County and the City of Austin to comply with state mask law,” Paxton said in a Tweet. “They blew me off. So, once again, I’m dragging them to court.” The lawsuit says that the decision to force masks or indoor social distancing measures rests solely on the individual businesses, not local or city governments. The lawsuit asks the court for a temporary restraining order so that Austin cannot continue to enforce these restrictions, allowing businesses to get back to full capacity until the matter is settled.
But Mayor Adler remained defiant and determined to keep businesses shut down, releasing his own statement that said he would “continue to do everything within our power, using every tool available to us, to reduce the spread of the virus, to keep as many people alive as possible, to safely open up schools to more in-person learning.” He falsely described the lawsuit as an “assault against doctors and data.”