iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
An Indian American Judge from Fort Bend County, Texas, is reinstating mask mandate in the county even after the state’s Governor had prohibited local governments from issuing any mask mandates.
Judge KP George defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that banned mask mandates in schools.
“We are taking this action to stand up and do the right thing to protect our children, our educators, our employees and all members of our community,” George said at an Aug. 11 news conference.
This action comes on the first day of school in Fort Bend ISD. George said it was “heartbreaking” that students returned to the classroom without all of the necessary health and safety protocols. The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks in K-12 schools.
Judge George joined several other local officials and school administrations that are rebelling against the Governor’s executive order G 38. On Aug. 9, Dallas schools began requiring masks as did several other localities. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins won a temporary restraining order against G 38.
Judge George tweeted on August 11, “#BREAKING: Fort Bend County as authorized a lawsuit against Governor Abbott’s unlawful executive order that prohibits local communities from implementing important public health measures. We stand with our parents, teachers, and community members against COVID-19.”
He added, “I’ll do all I can to protect the public health and the people of Fort Bend County. I hope others will join me in following the science and listening to local doctors and the CDC to act swiftly and decisively.”
The county also requested a temporary restraining order, which was signed by a district court judge. Smith-Lawson said this will restore the county’s ability to implement a mask mandate locally.
The county’s lawsuit asks the court to evaluate the governor’s authority versus the authority of local governments, she said.
“Following GA-38 would have had local officials here in Fort Bend County ignoring the virus,” she said. “We would be required to ignore mask mandates, which are recommended by medical professionals in stopping the virus. We cannot sit idly by and ignore the medical professionals to comply with GA-38.”
Additionally, the county raised its coronavirus threat level from orange—or moderate-to-significant community risk—to red, which is high community risk.
Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services said the county has seen “sustained and substantial” COVID-19 case increases over the past month. An average of 300 new cases were confirmed each day last week, and Minter said that number is expected to increase this week.
Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott has threatened to sue all those going against his order, be it schools or officials.
“Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy GA-38 – which prohibits gov’t entities from mandating masks – will be taken to court,” Abbott tweeted on Aug. 11.
The executive order GA 38, as spelt out in msn.com, says, “No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a Covid-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization,” the order said. “It also prohibits any public agencies or private entities receiving public funds, including grants and loans, from requiring consumers to show documentation of vaccinations before entering or receiving a service from the entity.”
Those opposing the ban have already won a restraining order on GA 38, but now face any lawsuits the Governor may initiate against them, including Judge George.
“As a parent, resident, and as your Fort Bend County Judge, I am so proud of our parents, students, and educators advocating tirelessly for protecting students and staff!” he tweeted, adding, “Masking Up & Getting Vaccinated will lead to more hospital bed space for ANY condition in Southeast Texas.”
He reinstated the mask mandate after the restraining order, which requires all county employees and visitors to county facilities must wear a face covering, adding, “This order will also include the requirement that face coverings be worn inside public schools.”
“I didn’t want to sue Governor Abbott, but when the lives of our children and families are on the line, it was necessary,” Judge George tweeted.
And his message to Gov. Abbott – “We’ll see you in Court.”