OPINION: There is widespread outrage in Houston after Circuit Judge Lina Hidalgo ordered residents to cover their faces in public.
Anyone who violates the order could face a thousand dollar fine and 180 days in jail. For not wearing a mask.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blasted the judge’s order — calling it a mix of “hypocrisy and hysteria.”
“These kind of confused government policies fuel public anger — and rightfully so,” wrote Patrick, who has been a vocal advocate for reopening the Texas economy and getting people back to work.
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No. No. No.
Should guidelines for masks in confined spaces be emphatically promoted? Absolutely.
But we will NEVER support 180 days in jail or $1,000 fine for not wearing a mask.
Do not let commonsense guidelines lead to unjust tyranny.https://t.co/VZDceCHha6
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 22, 2020
The Houston Police Officer’s Union called the judge’s decision draconian and they asked the state’s attorney general to weigh in on the legality of the order.
“We draw the line at the draconian measures Hidalgo has decided to engage in. Our officers work every single day to bridge the gap with our community and earn their trust. We will not stand by idly and allow Hidalgo to tear that bridge down with her horrific leadership and echo chamber decision making,” the union said in a statement.
The union says they have consulted with the Attorney General’s office to determine the legality of the judge’s order.
“While we wait for that opinion, we are reminding and informing our officers that they have DISCRETION, DISCRETION, DISCRETION in matters such as these. It is clear the so-called leader of Harris County lacks any critical thinking skills, but let me assure the public, our officers do! The last thing any of us need to d is kick our community while they are down.”
#ICYMI – Read my statement here: https://t.co/dk9CfHOZ0P#txlege pic.twitter.com/VRglpGTgYM
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) April 22, 2020
In Texas politics, the role of circuit judge is akin to being a county executive.
Hidalgo told the Houston Chronicle she is not looking to impose a police state. She just wants to slow the spread of the virus.
But sending someone to jail for six months for not wearing a head covering sounds just like something that would happen in a police state — or the Middle East.