Watch LIVE: EPISD board votes to sue Abbott over mask mandate ban
UPDATE: EPISD’s board voted 6-1 to take legal action against Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott over his ban on local school districts being able to impose mask-wearing requirements.
The vote came after a lengthy discussion session that at one point was interrupted by anti-mask audience members who became rowdy and had to be cleared form the board room by school district police officers.
ORIGINAL REPORT: EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, at its meeting set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, will consider taking legal action against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his executive order limiting the ability of local schools to issue face mask mandates to deal with Covid-19.
A revised agenda issued Tuesday morning for the regularly scheduled board meeting now lists “possible litigation” over Abbott’s order as the top action item.
The EPISD meeting comes 24 hours after El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza defied the governor and issued a directive set to take effect Wednesday morning requiring that face coverings be worn at all indoor establishments, including schools. That mandate came following a request for it by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The EPISD meeting also comes after El Paso City Council, in a move supporting Ocaranza, voted Monday night to file a lawsuit against Abbott. The city’s legal position is that state law allows the Health Authority to impose emergency health mandates – and the governor can’t override it with an executive order.
Numerous school districts and a handful of counties across the state have defied Abbott’s order that restricted local entities from instituting mask mandates. Multiple lawsuits are currently pending over the issue; in one of those cases, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily upheld Abbott’s order. Meantime, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in a statement Monday night, vowed to defend the governor’s order against additional legal challenges.
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