Jenkins Files Temporary Restraining Order Against Abbott's Ban on Mask Mandates

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) said Monday he is challenging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) executive order banning mask mandates.

Jenkins filed a temporary restraining order and declaratory judgment "seeking to hold portions of GA 38 regarding mask mandates unenforceable," he wrote in a post on Twitter.

It comes after Dallas ISD announced it would require masks on school property, defying GA-38, an executive order from Abbott (R) that prohibits school districts and local governments from mandating face masks.

"School districts and government closest to the people should make decisions on how best to keep students and others safe," Jenkins posted on Twitter. "Ultimately, it is about saving lives and saving and protecting children."

Jenkins required masks in defiance of Abbott's executive order at the Dallas County Commissioners Court on Aug. 3.

Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch, a Republican and District 2 Commissioner, refused to wear one and was escorted out of the meeting by a security officer, attending the rest of the meeting virtually.

Koch then filed a lawsuit, asking that Jenkins be removed from office for incompetence.

But last Friday, Dallas Circuit Court Judge Tonya Parker declined to grant the request from Koch to impose a temporary restraining order on Jenkins, saying that wearing a mask would cause Koch no immediate harm.

The Dallas Morning News reported it obtained a copy of the document Jenkins filed electronically late Monday.

According to the DMN, the court filing is a counterclaim in response to Koch's lawsuit naming Abbott as a counter-defendant.

In the filing, Jenkins requested a judge "file an order to stop enforcement of the governor’s June executive orders that prevent local governments from enacting mask mandates," The Dallas Morning News' Charles Scudder reported.

Dallas County reported 762 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths Monday in a press release.

The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate in Texas have risen in the past two weeks to levels not seen since February.

On Monday, Abbott asked healthcare workers from other states to assist with its surge in COVID-19 cases and requested hospitals voluntarily postpone elective surgeries to create more space for coronavirus patients.

Jenkins said there were only 14 ICU beds available in Dallas County Monday, citing data from the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

According to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, only 75 adult ICU beds remained available Saturday across 19 North Texas counties.

More than a third of the patients in area ICUs have COVID-19, DFW Hospital Council President W. Stephen Love said.

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