With little fanfare on Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott renewed his emergency COVID declaration for another 30 days. Texas is one of only 21 states continuing to operate under COVID emergency orders.
On March 13, 2020, Abbott announced declaration of a state of emergency over COVID-19. His first order came after 39 cases were reported in Texas. He has renewed the order each month since, for a total of 30 months.
As Texas enters the 30th month of the governor’s COVID emergency, most Texans have moved on. Gov. Abbott has not. On Saturday, he declared “a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID-19.”
The move caused Vance Ginn, the Chief Economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, to question why the governor has continued to renew the declaration.
— Vance Ginn (@VanceGinn) August 22, 2022
The original emergency declaration and renewals have been the basis of every COVID-related executive order issued since—including lockdowns and mask mandates, all without input from the state’s Legislature.
Despite the issue of executive overreach being a stated priority of the Republican Party of Texas last year, lawmakers refused to pass any restrictions on the practice. They also declined to consider efforts ending the emergency orders themselves.
Nationally, 29 states have already ended their state emergency health orders.