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San Antonio and Bexar County sue Gov. Greg Abbott over order banning school mask requirements 

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press event. - COURTESY PHOTO / TEXAS GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy Photo / Texas Governor's Office
  • Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press event.
San Antonio and Bexar County filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s authority to suspend state laws that give municipal officials the ability to make rules to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The lawsuit, filed in state District Court in Bexar County, seeks a temporary restraining order to stop the Republican governor from enforcing his recent emergency order barring public schools from requiring masks. That order also stops schools from requiring quarantines in cases when an unvaccinated student comes into close contact with a person with COVID-19.

“We are challenging the governor’s authority to suspend local emergency orders during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in an emailed statement. “Ironically, the governor is taking a state law meant to facilitate local action during an emergency and using it to prohibit local response to the emergency that he himself declared.”

Abbott's office was unavailable for immediate comment.

The suit comes as a wave of new COVID-19 infections are overwhelming Texas hospitals and as students return to campus for the start of a new school year. Local health officials have also warned that the delta variant, which now accounts for the majority of San Antonio-area cases, is more likely to severely sicken children than earlier strains of the coronavirus.

Abbott, who's running for reelection in 2022, has repeatedly butted heads with Texas municipalities over how much power they should have to set their own rules during the health crisis. 

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January 26, 2022

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