Joining scores of other local officials defying Gov. Greg Abbott, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) has mandated masks. However, his order also defies a restriction put in place by Dallas’ county commissioners last year.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jenkins issued an executive order mandating masks in Dallas County. This was made possible yesterday when District Judge Tonya Parker issued a temporary restraining order against Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates statewide.

“Clay Jenkins is a tin pot tyrant. He has no authority to mandate this in Dallas,” posted Luke Twombly. “I’m not complying.”

Questions have arisen as to what legal effect, if any, Jenkins’ executive order has. On June 12 of last year, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted to require that Jenkins seek their approval before issuing executive orders during states of emergency. The last commissioners meeting was August 3, and the next one is scheduled for 9 a.m. on August 17.

Commissioner J.J. Koch (R) confirmed to Texas Scorecard the requirement to seek commissioner approval is still in place. Koch is currently suing Jenkins for mandating masks in the commissioners court and removing Koch from a commissioners court meeting for not wearing a mask. Attorney General Ken Paxton had told Jenkins to end that mandate by August 9, or he would consider “all available options.”

Inquiries were sent to Jenkins and Commissioners Elba Garcia (D), Theresa Daniel (D), John Wiley Price (D) on this matter.

“We have been getting a lot of calls in regards to this particular situation,” said Chad Cooke, office manager with Commissioner Garcia. “At this moment, until our next commissioners court, Commissioner Garcia [is] taking into consideration everything everyone is saying, and they’re going to further discuss this during our next commissioners court meeting.”

“They may be doing some private discussions between each other—as far as the commissioners and the judge—prior,” he continued.

No one else replied before publication.

As local officials and school districts statewide issue mask mandates, Abbott’s challengers in the Republican primary are pushing for action.

Paxton said today the Texas Supreme Court will be asked to end all restraining orders judges have issued against Abbott’s mask mandate ban.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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