AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - Rep. Matt Schaefer has introduced a bill to take away the governor’s power to create and enforce a mask mandate.
HB 2097 adds this to the power of the governor to write executive orders in Texas:
The governor may not issue an executive order, proclamation, or regulation that requires a person to wear a mask or personal protective equipment unless expressly provided by statute.
A statute is a law enacted by the state legislature. Schaefer says that it’s against the Texas constitution for the governor to write an order and also enforce it. He says that takes away the checks and balances needed in the state’s legislative branch.
Gov. Abbott issued an executive order in July 2020 requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.
HB 2098 says the same thing as 2097, only instead of aiming it at the governor, it says local officials should be held to the same standard of being able to enforce a mask mandate only if there is a statute stating such.
The bill was introduced today in Austin. Schaefer wrote on his website, ‘There are strong opinions about masks. If a member of the Legislature believes that a mask-mandate with a criminal offense is necessary, then they, not the executive, will file a bill, have a public hearing, and listen to testimony. The law making process will determine the outcome, and the public gets a voice.”
Schaefer’s act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2021.