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Both state and federal courts deal Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defeats over his ban on local mask rules

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For someone who claims to oppose government regulation, Gov. Greg Abbott sure does hand down a lot of executive orders. - INSTAGRAM / @GOVERNORABBOTT
  • Instagram / @governorabbott
  • For someone who claims to oppose government regulation, Gov. Greg Abbott sure does hand down a lot of executive orders.
Two courts — one federal and one state — handed defeats to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday over his orders barring local entities from imposing pandemic mask requirements.

A federal judge ruled that the Republican governor's order blocking schools from imposing mask mandates violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and cleared district officials to resume setting rules requiring face coverings on campus.

Meanwhile, Texas' Fourth Court of Appeals ruled that Abbott can’t bar San Antonio and Bexar County from requiring masks as a COVID-19 precaution until a lawsuit questioning the legality of the order plays out in court, according to an Express-News report.

Both rulings come after months of legal tussles between Abbott and local officials over who has the right to set pandemic protocols.

The governor has rushed to reopen Texas, telling municipalities and school districts they have no ability to require masks or vaccinations. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken legal action to block those mandates, even setting up a website naming local entities that he says are in violation of Abbott's orders.

In the school mask ruling, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel halted Paxton from enforcing Abbott's order, saying the ADA requires campuses to make accommodations for children with disabilities or preexisting conditions that make them more vulnerable to being hospitalized if they contract COVID-19.

"[Students with disabilities] are either forced out of in-person learning altogether or must take on unnecessarily greater health and safety risks than their nondisabled peers," Yeakel wrote. "The evidence presented by Plaintiffs establishes that Plaintiffs are being denied the benefits of in-person learning on an equal basis as their peers without disabilities."

In the San Antonio case, a three-judge panel upheld a lower court’s temporary injunction against the governor's ban on mask mandates by local authorities, according to the Express-News.

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