On Friday morning, State Sen. Bob Hall (R-Canton) leveled a number of grievances toward Gov. Greg Abbott after Abbott altered his position on mandatory face coverings.
In a statement, Hall outlined his concerns, and compared actions taken by the governor to a monarchy.
“Texas has now gone full circle from a dictatorship to a republic, to a sovereign American State. Now it appears that as long as we allow the Governor’s actions under the Disaster Management Act, we are expected to live as if we have a monarchy,” Hall said.
“Who knew the flame of Texas Liberty would be extinguished, by the stroke of a pen, without a shot fired?”
Hall’s statement follows Abbott’s reversal of his position on mandating face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 2,182 Texans to-date, according to state data.
Abbott’s original order explicitly forbade local governments to fine or imprison persons for failing to wear a face covering.
On Wednesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff appeared to find a loophole in the governor’s executive order after Wolff issued his own order that requires businesses in the county to force patrons and employees to wear masks.
Bexar County businesses that fail to do so could face a $1,000 fine per violation.
Abbott approved of Wolff’s move later that day and said that his order allowed for such enforcements all along.
Both Democratic and Republican state legislators, including Hall, have criticized the nature of his reversal and characterized Abbott’s original executive order as a “riddle.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) tweeted, “People have been demanding–begging–for help with mask ordinances. The Governor said nothing. In fact, this week he didn’t point to the order, he talked about ‘liberty.’”
“It’s not a riddle. Or a game,” Bernal said.
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) also condemned Abbott’s reversal, calling the state’s recent actions “parenting.”
“Abbott’s words make sense coming from the governor of California, not Texas. ENOUGH! We don’t need a king in the governor’s mansion or in city hall,” Schaefer tweeted. “Let Texans decide. No more parenting from Austin.”
Four Republican state representatives issued a joint statement on Friday condemning the governor’s about-face.
Hall’s statement came before the recent controversy surrounding Empower Texans employees joking about Abbott using a wheelchair, which Hall condemned in a tweet on Friday.
“[Greg Abbott] is our governor and deserves respect whether or not we agree with him on all issues,” Hall said.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.