Attorney General Paxton issues stern warning to local governments: don’t restrict restaurants, other businesses more than Governor Abbott already has

Attorney General Paxton issues stern warning to local governments: don’t restrict restaurants, other businesses more than Governor Abbott already has

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin and Brownsville, September 10 – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton yesterday issued a stern warning to the City of Brownsville against its invalid order limiting all restaurant capacity to less than 25 percent of total listed occupancy. As it stands, the city’s order directly contradicts Governor Greg Abbott’s orders, which are far too restrictive as it is and of questionable constitutional validity, and exceeds the city’s lawful authority.

Abbott’s Executive Order GA-28 expressly allows certain restaurants to “operate at up to 50 percent” and allows restaurants, and not cities, to decide whether to operate at a capacity at or below this limitation. “The City of Brownsville’s order clearly conflicts with Governor Abbott’s order. It is imperative that we remain consistent in our application of limitations, and that the restaurants operating within the state’s limitations are allowed to do so,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The city should immediately review and revise this unlawful order.”

Paxton addressed his sharp remarks to Brownsville Mayor Juan “Trey” Mendez, III.

City of Brownsville Mayor Juan “Trey” Mendez, III.

Paxton explained to Mendez as well as to all local governments, “The Governor’s order establishes a ceiling on capacity at these restaurants, and it allows restaurants – not local governments – to decide whether to operate at a capacity that does not exceed this limitation. Indeed, nothing in the order allows local governments to alter the capacity limitation as the city attempts to do. Because the city’s restriction conflicts with the Governor’s order and exceeds its lawful authority, it is invalid.”

Paxton did not address whether the Governor’s order is valid or not, since the Governor created legislation without enactment first by the Texas Legislature.

Abbott has also singled out two businesses – bars and outdoor tubing recreation companies – for total business closure during the government’s panicked response to the Chinese Coronavirus.

 

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