President Joe Biden has signed legislation officially ending the national emergency issued over three years ago for COVID-19.
More than 200 Democrats in the U.S. House opposed the measure ending the national emergency in February. However, when the bill passed the Senate in March, Biden indicated he would sign it.
Texas, meanwhile, remains one of just a handful of states still under emergency COVID orders.
First issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on March 13, 2020, the emergency declaration became the basis for numerous COVID-related executive orders, including business shutdowns and mask mandates—all without input from the state Legislature. As Texas began to reopen, executive orders were issued in an attempt to prohibit local entities from implementing more stringent requirements.
An emergency declaration can only be issued for up to 30 days at a time. Since it was first issued, however, Abbott has repeatedly extended it every month. Texas is currently the only Republican-led state to still be under a state of emergency for COVID.
Abbott has said he will keep the order in place until the Legislature passes emergency powers reform.
“I intend to keep these executive orders and suspensions in place until the Legislature can enact laws this session to prohibit local governments from imposing restrictions like mask mandates and vaccine mandates,” Abbott said during his most recent renewal of the declaration last month.
Abbott has also made reforming the very emergency powers he has leaned heavily on an emergency priority for the Legislature.
The Texas Senate has made progress on the issue, passing legislation that would prevent a governor from issuing an emergency declaration for more than 30 days without calling a special session of the state Legislature to approve the effort. They have also approved legislation to ban future shutdowns and medical mandates.
Legislation has yet to be approved in the House, however.