UPDATED March 30.

A local resident is challenging restrictions imposed by his city under a local emergency declaration as an unconstitutional overreach that conflicts with existing county orders.

On Friday, McKinney realtor Derek Baker filed a lawsuit seeking to block portions of the “shelter-in-place” order issued Wednesday by McKinney Mayor George Fuller in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Baker told Texas Scorecard he filed the suit to protect the liberty of those who can no longer work to provide for their families because of the mayor’s order.

Baker’s petition lists multiple provisions of the city’s order that impose more severe restrictions than an earlier order issued by the county. State law says “to the extent of a conflict between decisions of the county judge and the mayor, the decision of the county judge prevails.”

The suit also argues McKinney’s order represents a regulatory taking of private property that violates the Texas Constitution.

Mayor Fuller ordered all businesses to “cease all activities at facilities located within McKinney,” except those the city defines as “essential.”

On Tuesday, Collin County Judge Chris Hill issued a countywide order that defined all businesses as “essential” and encouraged them to stay open if they can do so safely.

Hill publicly confirmed Tuesday that county directives supersede conflicting city orders, but Fuller said his stricter measures were warranted by the public health emergency.

Not all residents agree with Baker’s defense of personal liberty during the crisis; he has even received death threats.

“This does not mean we shouldn’t all be practicing prudent safety measures,” he said. “But it is not prudent or rational to force-close all ‘non-essential’ businesses by government edict and thereby cut off all means of citizens’ ability to make a living and feed their family.”

District Judge Jill Willis said in a preliminary hearing Friday that she is inclined to grant Baker’s request for a temporary restraining order. Another hearing is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.


The Deafening Silence of Fear

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