Texas AG Warns Counties About “Unlawful” Lockdowns

Austin’s ABC News affiliate reports:

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a letter to Travis County and the city of Austin, warning some requirements in the city and county’s stay-at-home orders are unlawful and must change to meet the state’s most recent order.

According to Paxton, those requirements include “strict and unconstitutional demands” on houses of worship, restrictions on what the state considers essential services – such as contract tracing measures at restaurants – penalties for not wearing masks and shelter-in-place demands.

In a statement, Travis County Public Information Officer Hector Nieto said the county has received the letter and county attorneys are reviewing it. “Our initial thought is we disagree with the attorney general,” Nieto said.

Dallas’ CBS News affiliate reports:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent a stern warning to Dallas County about “unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions” that he says conflict with the governor’s executive orders. In a letter, Paxton claims Judge Clay Jenkins’ order “exceeds the county’s lawful authority and that it is likely to confuse residents.”

Paxton mentioned how there is no longer a statewide stay-at-home order but that Dallas County is still enforcing one. Again, he said the governor’s order “supersedes” local ones.

“We trust the county will act quickly to correct mistakes like these to avoid further confusion and litigation challenging the county’s unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions,” Paxton said.

Bexar County and San Antonio got similar letters.