EL PASO, Texas — A majority of El Paso City Council members told the city attorney to continue with on-going litigation against the state of Texas over the governor’s order forbidding local face mask mandates.
In a 5-3 vote on Tuesday, council members rejected a motion to drop the litigation undertaken by the city stemming from the local health authority’s mask requirement issued in September.
Some council members, like City Rep. Alexsandra Annello, said this litigation involves more than just a mask mandate.
“This is not just about Covid. This is moving forward about any infectious disease, or anything, that will impact our communities,” Annello explained just before the vote.
Back in May, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that prohibited any governmental entity or public health authority from “requiring any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering.”
On Sept. 2, a judge granted the city’s request to block the governor’s executive order forbidding mask mandates. That same day, El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza issued a mask mandate in public places that went into effect on Sept. 4.
State Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the judge’s ruling. Later that same month, the Eighth Court of Appeals in El Paso put a pause on the local mask mandate until it could decide the appeal. That pause remains in effect.
Three city council members voted to drop the litigation. Those three were Reps. Joe Molinar, Claudia Rodriguez, and Isabel Salcido.
Salcido wanted to monitor other lawsuits filed against the state to see if El Paso could prevail in their attempt.
“I don’t feel we need to spend that money right now. It’s not fiscally responsible,” Salcido said.
ABC-7 has requested the costs associated with the lawsuit and is waiting for city officials to provide those documents.
The post El Paso City Council votes to continue mask lawsuit vs. state of Texas appeared first on KVIA.