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Texas officials send pissy letter re: COVID policies to Dallas County

Texas officials send pissy letter re: COVID policies to Dallas County

Stylish Masks
Texas AG: "We're the boss!" Photo courtesy of David Peck

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has provoked another turfy tantrum from state officials over what Texans are required to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On May 12, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Jenkins and two other county officials in the state, stating that their local orders do not supersede Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders, asserting that Texas is the boss of you and furthermore, nyah nyah nyah.

Letters were also sent to officials in Bexar and Travis counties.

The Attorney General office's pissy letter begins, "It has come to our attention that Dallas County has issued a local public health order that exceeds the county's lawful authority and ... is likely to confuse residents."

Masks are a big sticking point. Dallas County orders say that residents over the age of two shall wear some form of mask or face covering. Abbott's Executive GA-21 order only encourages people to wear masks, not require them. That's confusing.

"The governor's order recognizes that Texans will act responsibly and make smart decisions to protect themselves and their families," it says. "In contrast, your order purports to strip Texans of their agency. Although your order 'requires' individuals to wear masks when they leave their home, they are free to choose whether to wear one or not."

The letter also outlines conflicting rules on church services, the definition of essential business, and shelter-in-place.

It says that local governments can't restrict "essential" or reopened businesses, and can't limit the number of people at religious services. It also says that Dallas County is wrong to consider law offices inessential.

It issues a warning that the county should "act quickly to correct mistakes like these" to avoid litigation.

Jenkins' office responded with a statement that said, "We intentionally modeled the public health guidelines based on the Governor’s recommendations, never imagining he did not want his own guidelines followed."