Harris County to file lawsuit challenging Gov. Abbott's order against mask mandates

Harris County is filing a lawsuit to challenge Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the move late Tuesday night on Twitter.

Gov. Abbott's executive order GA-38 prohibits local governments and school districts in Texas from requiring the wearing of masks. It was signed in mid-May when coronavirus cases were on the decline.

DETAILS: Texas governor issues order to prohibit government entities from mandating masks

But now, as children head back to school, cases are on the rise due to the highly contagious Delta variant that is also affecting younger people.

Nearly 14,000 new confirmed cases were reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services on Tuesday.

TROUBLING TREND: Texas sees most COVID-19 hospitalizations in 6 months

"First responders and school leaders are speaking out and standing up as Delta ravages our community. We have their back," Judge Hidalgo said in her tweet.

RELATED: Local mask mandates pop up in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning COVID-19 restrictions

School districts across the state are defying his order, including Spring ISD, Austin ISD and Dallas ISD. Houston ISD is set to vote on the issue this Thursday.

Gov. Abbott’s office issued a statement Tuesday in response to the districts choosing to require masks, warning about violating his executive orders.

"Now is the time for personal responsibility," he said. "Parents and guardians have the right to decide whether their child will wear a mask or not, just as with any other decision in their child’s life."

MORE: Houston ISD Superintendent to bring forward mask mandate to school board next week for a vote

MORE: Spring ISD to require masks in district buildings, campuses

Local governments are also going against the executive order, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who announced last week that city employees would need to start wearing a mask.

"I commend everyone - school superintendents, and elected judges alike who are taking whatever steps are needed to protect the lives of the people they serve," Hidalgo said in her tweet. "Protecting the community during an emergency is a duty, not an option for government leaders." 

According to GA-38, those who attempt to impose a mask mandate or impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the order can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

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