It’s the year 2023…
Following the precedent established in 2019 by former Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Democrat Gov. Julian Castro is taking swift executive action to safeguard the liberty of all Texans. While Abbott’s order protected Texans from unlicensed plumbers, Castro’s is aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants, women’s access to healthcare, and Texans vulnerable to threats posed by guns.
June 13, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Proclamation
WHEREAS, Greg Abbott, then-Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on August 23, 2017, as subsequently amended on August 26, August 27, August 28, and September 14, 2017, certifying that Hurricane Harvey posed a threat of imminent disaster for certain counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, on September 20, 2017, and in each subsequent month effective through today, the Office of the Governor issued proclamations renewing the disaster declaration; and
WHEREAS, recovery from the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey continues for Texans living in no fewer than sixty counties across the state; and
WHEREAS, the public safety of Texans, including in areas not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, will be essential as funds continue to be invested in crucial infrastructure, medical facilities, living facilities, and other construction projects; and
WHEREAS, the quality and availability of health care available to Texans, including Texas women, in areas directly and not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, will be essential as funds continue to be invested in crucial infrastructure, medical facilities, living facilities, and other construction projects; and
WHEREAS, Texas must also be ready for future disasters, by building sound infrastructure that can withstand major weather or other events and by ensuring that qualified workers stand ready to rebuild, and June 1, 2023, marked the beginning of the 2023 hurricane season; and
WHEREAS, Governor Greg Abbott, on June 13, 2019, issued an executive order suspending certain laws which addressed only a narrow scope of threats to public health and safety, specifically, those resulting from improperly installed plumbing, gas, and medical gas systems; and
WHEREAS, Governor Abbott’s June 13, 2019 executive order did not address the threats to public health or safety posed by the proliferation and carry of firearms, legal obstacles to the availability of women’s health care and reproductive care, or the diversion of limited law enforcement resources to enforcing federal immigration laws; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 411, Subchapter H of the Government Code provides procedures for the issuance and maintenance of a system of licensing for private citizens to carry handguns, which are a public safety threat to Texans; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 171 of the Health and Safety Code places numerous restrictions on the reproductive rights of, and health care options available to, Texas women; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 752, Subchapter C and Chapter 772 Subchapter A of the Government Code, which purport to ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”, required a misuse of law enforcement resources that pose a threat to public safety; and
WHEREAS, the legal carry of firearms by non-law enforcement personnel, the reduction of health care options and reproductive care available to women, and the diversion of crucial law enforcement resources to policing federal immigration laws will heighten the dangers I am responsible for meeting under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, Texas Government Code, Chapter 418; and
WHEREAS, in Section 418.016(a) of the Texas Government Code, the legislature has empowered the governor to “suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business…if strict compliance with the provisions…would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster”; and
WHEREAS, the 86th Legislature further expanded the governor’s authority in Senate Bill 285 by enacting Section 418.128(b) of the Texas Government Code, effective September 1, 2019, pursuant to which, “[n]otwithstanding any other law, the governor may, by executive order, take any action necessary to ensure each state agency…is able to respond to a hurricane”; and
WHEREAS, to fulfill the demands for rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey and keeping Texas prepared and able to recover from future disasters, it is necessary to suspend the laws allowing the carrying of handguns by non-law enforcement personnel, restricting reproductive care options for Texas women, and requiring law enforcement personnel to enforce federal immigration laws;
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Texas Constitution and the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, I do hereby suspend Chapter 411, Subchapter H of the Government Code, Chapter 171 of the Health and Safety Code and Chapter 752, Subchapter C and Chapter 772 Subchapter A of the Government Code, and to delay that abolition and expiration until disaster needs subside.
This executive order supersedes all previous orders on this matter that are in conflict or inconsistent with its terms, and this order shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by me or by a succeeding governor.
Given under my hand this the 24th day of June, 2023.