Friday, May 27, 2022

Texas Attorney General sues city of Denton over mask mandate

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the city of Denton on Tuesday over the city’s mask mandate.

The City Council first approved the masking requirements in August 2021, defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban of such mandates. Denton Councilman Jesse Davis said at the time that the mandate was “almost entirely political theater.”

“Not one additional person is going to wear a mask because the City of Denton tells them to,” Davis said.

Despite Davis’ and Mayor Gerard Hudspeth’s opposition, the Denton City Council has extended the mask mandate multiple times, now through April 1. The city’s mandate requires face coverings in all city buildings, and it requires schools and businesses to implement masking requirements, which has been largely ignored.

Last week, Paxton sent a letter to the city of Denton, “demanding the end of a new policy requiring city employees to wear a mask in all common areas or suffer corrective action.”

“This is not a new policy; this is not a new order. The City of Denton is openly defying the Governor after the Texas Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld his authority in this matter,” Paxton said in the letter. “No one is above the law, and the City of Denton needs to take down its mask mandate. It’s illegal. Meanwhile, we continue to ask the Texas Supreme Court for assistance in ordering rogue local governments and school districts to follow the law banning mask mandates.”

During its meeting on Monday, Denton City Council elected to leave the mandate in place, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Paxton’s office announced Wednesday that he is suing the city because the city “refused to pull down its unlawful mask mandate.”

“No one is above the law. No one,” Paxton said in a statement. “This sheepish attempt at defiance will be handled swiftly. The only ones who suffer in this repeated political theater are the great people of Texas. They deserve better.”

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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