Fort Bend Co. judge files lawsuit challenging Gov. Abbott's COVID orders

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The Fort Bend County judge said he's filed a lawsuit that will challenge Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders on COVID-19 protocols, which includes his ban on mask mandates.

Judge KP George will be hosted a news conference on the lawsuit on Wednesday.

"I'll do all I can to protect the public health and the people of Fort Bend County," the judge wrote on Twitter. "I hope others will join me in following the science and listening to local doctors and the CDC to act swiftly and decisively."





George also announced that he raised the county's COVID threat level from orange "significant" to red "severe."

In a series of tweets posted earlier in the day, the county judge has been vocal about his support for the use of masks, particularly in schools.
He posted a letter he wrote to the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, asking them to consider the concerns of parents and teachers.

"The highly contagious delta variant has raged across Texas, and Fort Bend is no exception, as we have seen an increase in new confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the past few weeks," the letter stated. "The purpose of this letter is to request that you stand up and lead on behalf of our children by providing local school districts flexibility ..."



Late Tuesday night, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the county will file a lawsuit challenging Abbott's ban on mask mandates.

"First responders and school leaders are speaking out and standing up as Delta ravages our community. We have their back," Hidalgo wrote. "Protecting the community during an emergency is a duty, not an option for government leaders."

Despite COVID cases rising again, Abbott has said he will not impose another statewide mandate.

It would be "inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask," Abbott said.

Abbott lifted the statewide mask requirement in March. Two months later, he announced he was banning government entities - including public schools - from mandating masks. Abbott reiterated that Texas schoolchildren will not face mask requirements as they return to school later this summer.

Both Austin ISD and Dallas ISD are going against Abbott's ban on mask mandates. Houston ISD is scheduled to take up the issue on Thursday, Aug. 12.

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