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Harris Co. Attorney files lawsuit against Gov. Abbott over executive order banning mask mandates

"The 4.7 million people in Harris County deserve leadership that will enact measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives," Christian Menefee said.

HOUSTON — The Harris County Attorney is taking legal action against Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates.

On Thursday, Christian Menefee announced the Harris County Attorney's Office filed a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton regarding GA-38, which is an executive order that prevents local governments and officials from mandating masks, among other things.

Editor's note: The video at the top of this article is from a report on Tuesday in which Menefee announced plans to file the lawsuit.

“Governor Greg Abbott has repeatedly misused his authority under Texas disaster laws. The current wave of the Delta variant presents a real and imminent threat to our most vulnerable populations, and local officials need to be able to respond to this crisis. The Governor’s Executive Order acknowledges this crisis, and then bans any meaningful action to address it," Menefee said in a statement. "As hospitals become overwhelmed and schools look toward opening, the 4.7 million people in Harris County deserve leadership that will enact measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

Read the lawsuit here:

City and county officials in San Antonio and Dallas have already sued Gov. Abbott over his executive order.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott issues statements in response to lawsuits filed against executive order preventing mask mandates

Menefee early Tuesday said he was still evaluating whether he would join an existing lawsuit or file his own.

“But what I can tell you is at the very least we will be actively involved in the lawsuits that are going on across the state,” Menefee said.

Abbott released this statement in response to the lawsuit filed by officials in San Antonio:

“The assertion that the Governor of the State of Texas doesn’t have the authority to protect the rights and freedoms of Texans is just plain misguided. Under Chapter 418, the Governor has full authority to issue executive orders that have the full force and effect of law in response to a disaster. This health disaster has continued to change, and so should our response. Texans have learned and mastered over the past year the safe practices to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID, and do not need the government to tell them how to do so.

"Removing government mandates, however, does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for family members, friends, and your community. Vaccines are the most effective defense against contracting COVID and becoming seriously ill, and we continue to urge all eligible Texans to get the vaccine. The COVID vaccine will always remain voluntary and never forced in Texas.”

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