AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he’s going through with his threat and suing the city of Austin and Travis County for their continued mandate of face masks.
On Wednesday, Paxton told Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Austin Mayor Steve Adler he would sue them if they didn’t lift local orders by 6 p.m. that evening.READ MORE: 'I'm Afraid We're Going To See A Surge Of Violence' Says Texas Criminologist Following Recent Mass Shootings
The statewide mask mandate was officially lifted on Wednesday but local health officials believe they should still be required. Both Brown and Adler disapproved the ending of the mandate and decided to continue requiring masks in their areas until at least April 15, CBS Austin reported.
Violators can face up to $2,000 in fines, according to the local order.
“I told Travis County & The City of Austin to comply with state mask law. They blew me off. So, once again, I’m dragging them to court. Adler will never do the right thing on his own. His obstruction won’t stop me from keeping TX free & open!” Paxton said in a tweet.
In a letter to Brown and Adler, Paxton said the local order goes against Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that states local officials cannot impose limits unless there are certain conditions met under the Department of State Health Services guidelines. Private businesses, however, are able to keep mask requirements in place as they see fit.READ MORE: Texas Grand Jury To Consider Charges In Shooting Death Of Protester Garrett Foster Last Summer
.@MayorAdler & @AndyBrownATX, you and local health authorities have until 6:00pm today to rescind any mask mandates or business-operating restrictions and come into full compliance with GA-34 ➡️ https://t.co/Bz5DQsw8IV
Otherwise, on behalf of the State of Texas, I will sue you. pic.twitter.com/IP9UpZPplh
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) March 10, 2021
“It does not rest with jurisdictions like the City of Austin or Travis County or their local health authorities. Nor do they have the authority to threaten fines for non-compliance,” Paxton said in the letter.MORE NEWS: As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Child Abuse Reports Rise In North Texas
“If you continue to flout the law in this manner, we’ll take you to court again and you will lose again,” Paxton added.