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Travis County court to hear mask lawsuit today

Friday, March 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

As warned, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit Thursday against the city of Austin, Travis County, Mayor Steve Adler and County Judge Andy Brown, as well as interim medical director and Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott, to overturn the local officials’ regulations requiring business patrons to wear masks while indoors. Paxton is seeking a temporary restraining order and then a temporary injunction to prevent Austin and Travis County from enforcing their rules. Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court will hear the case beginning at 10 a.m., according to a spokesperson. Gov. Greg Abbott issued a declaration, effective March 10, rescinding previous state orders requiring adults to wear masks at commercial businesses and limiting the number of people who could gather at businesses such as restaurants and bars. Adler and Brown said they would continue to follow local health authority rules as opposed to Abbott’s declaration. Brown released the following statement on Thursday: “I will continue to listen to our public health authority, medical professionals and the CDC who have consistently said masks save lives. It is unfortunate the attorney general is once again failing to make the health of our community his priority.” Adler said in a news release: “Judge Brown and I will fight to defend and enforce our local health officials’ rules for as long as possible using all the power and tools available to us. We promised to be guided by the doctors, science and data as concerns the pandemic and we do everything we can to keep that promise. Wearing masks is perhaps the most important thing we can do to slow the spread of the virus. We are not aware of any Texas court that has allowed state leadership to overrule the health protection rules of a local health authority. Masks work! The Attorney General is simply wrong. So again, #MaskUpATX.”

Editor’s Note: Andy Brown is on the board of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, the parent nonprofit of the Austin Monitor.

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