Greg Abbott claims won’t relinquish his COVID-era authority unless Texas lawmakers end vaccination requirements, fortify state’s border

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a public health emergency during the pandemic, giving him unprecedented authority for the previous 1,049 days. He said on Thursday that he would maintain that authority until state lawmakers pass laws prohibiting COVID-19-related restrictions on Texans and enhancing the state’s authority at the border.

In his remarks to Chad Hasty, host of the nationally syndicated Texas conservative talk radio show, Abbott reiterated his long-standing call for Congress to forbid local governments from implementing “and other restraints on freedom.”

Since outlawing the practice through an executive order, the Republican governor has increased the pressure on lawmakers to formalize such limitations on towns and counties.

“I shall repeal this executive order at the effective date of such legislation, the order, which was issued in October 2021,” stated.

By doing this, two of his COVID-19-related executive orders would be codified. He has issued over 35 such orders since the global coronavirus epidemic started three years ago. As long as the disaster proclamation is in force, they all have legal force.

COVID-19 Cases in Texas

In the 34 months following Abbott’s proclamation, Texas has seen more than 93,000 fatalities and 8.2 million COVID-19 cases, making it one of just a handful of states remaining under a statewide catastrophe or public health emergency.

Abbott’s administration has been steadfast in its refusal to follow the majority in rescinding the orders for months, stating in a statement in December that doing so “would empower local governments to once again enforce occupancy restrictions, mask mandates, and vaccination mandates.”

Abbott said on Thursday that he wants Texas lawmakers to pass a state version of the contentious Title 42 immigration statute from the Trump administration, which is now the subject of a legal dispute. Under the aegis of the federal public health emergency, it permits the prompt repatriation of migrants at the border, including those who are requesting refuge.

A second Abbott executive order that presently permits the practice in Texas might be threatened if the disaster declaration is revoked. A program akin to Title 42 would be established under state law, according to at least one measure introduced by Rep. Brian Harrison, R-Midlothian.

Other Reports, COVID-19 Wave

The COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to kill Texans every day, prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a public health disaster in March 2020. Since then, Texans have been living under his proclamation for 1,000 days. This is a period of unprecedented gubernatorial power for the state’s chief executive.

For at least the remainder of the winter, the entire country is still considered to be in a state of public health emergency. According to specialists, this might result in a new wave of illnesses when families spend the holidays indoors, immunity levels drop, or virus types avoid older immunizations.

But 32 months after the designation was made, Texas has seen more than 92,000 fatalities and 8 million COVID-19 cases, making it one of just a few of states that are still under a statewide disaster or public health emergency proclamation.

The proclamations provide executive branches additional authority to act rapidly in response to emergency crises that cannot wait for the routine bureaucratic gears to turn.

The disaster declaration in Texas gives Abbott’s executive actions, which are typically non-binding, the force of law.