Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced an emergency executive order on Wednesday afternoon that would require face masks in public schools, businesses, and county buildings. The order is the latest challenge to Greg Abbott’s, who had previously declared that local lawmakers were forbidden from issuing health and safety measures like mask mandates.
On Tuesday evening, Jenkins won a ruling from Judge Tonya Parker that enjoined Abbott’s earlier executive order. On Monday, Dallas ISD announced that face masks would be required on public school campuses, which was also in defiance of the governor.
The new masking order comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have rapidly increased throughout the state. In north Texas, hospital executives were sounding the alarm at the decreasing rate of intensive care units. Currently in north Texas there are only two pediatric ICU beds in the entire region.
Jenkins has been highly critical of Abbott’s handling of the pandemic. Speaking to WFAA-TV Jenkins noted that Abbott’s orders against local mandates were rooted in partisan politics. “The governor’s decisions are based on polls of how people who are likely to vote in his primary next year feel about issues,” said Jenkins.Before Jenkins issued his order, Attorney General Ken Paxton was on the conservative Mark Davis radio show and said that the Texas Supreme Court could imminently throw out local rulings regarding mask requirements.