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Not long ago, it would have been unheard of for Republicans in the Texas Legislature to openly criticize Gov. Greg Abbott.

Now, a coalition of four Republican lawmakers in the Texas House is calling on the governor to stop “playing games” and “working hand in hand” with Democrats.

The criticism comes after Gov. Greg Abbott gave his blessing to a mask mandate in Bexar County earlier this week that would require businesses to mandate the wearing of masks or face steep fines, opening the door for other local governments to follow suit.

In a release on Friday, Republican State Reps. Kyle Biedermann (Fredericksburg), Tony Tinderholt (Arlington), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford), and Mike Lang (Granbury) called the mandate “tyranny, plain and simple,” adding that “our Governor is enabling it.”

“This is not a problem to blame on Democrats since they are not in control in Texas. If in Virginia or California, one could rightly blame Democrat leadership, but not in Texas. If these absurd actions are happening here, the responsibility falls solely on Republican leadership. Governor Abbott refused to listen to many of us who asked him to allow businesses to open sooner, and now he is enabling Democrats to further oppress struggling businesses with burdensome fines.

 

“We are left asking ourselves what happened to Texas? It was disheartening to hear the Governor say he wanted to make sure “individual liberties” were protected, but at the same time say businesses could be tyrannized. It is inconsistent to say you believe Texans should be free to make their own decision on whether to wear a mask or not but use the heavy hand of the government to punish business and make them enforcers of tyranny on freedom loving Texans.

 

“The Governor needs to stop playing games and return the Lone Star State to a land where freedom and liberty are not only talking points but actually understood and applied to our actions. If he wishes to continue to have the government micromanage the lives of Texans, the Governor needs to call a special session and earn the votes of the Legislature for his big government policies. We will do our part to end the absurdity and protect Texans’ liberty.”

Abbott’s mask order is the latest in a series of moves that have angered conservatives following the coronavirus shutdowns, the plethora of executive orders, and a $295 million deal to bring contact tracing to Texas.