As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Texas, TAC Legal Services staff are closely monitoring the situation and working to remain responsive to the needs of TAC members.
We offer the following information to our members to assist them in responding to COVID-19. This information will be updated so please check back frequently.
Last updated 9-8-21
On March 13, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation declaring a state of disaster for all counties in Texas. He has renewed the disaster proclamation in each subsequent month, most recently on Aug. 29, 2021.
On March 29, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-13 suspending articles of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and sections of the Texas Government Code to prevent the release of criminal defendants previously accused or convicted of a violent crime on a personal bond and to prohibit the early release for good behavior of inmates serving misdemeanor sentences.
On April 27, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott released "Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas."
On Nov. 23, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. The plan was updated on Dec. 17, 2020.
On July 19, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court issued the 40th Emergency Order regarding the COVID-19 state of disaster. The order renews and amends the 38th Emergency Order issued on May 26, 2021.
On July 28, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-37 relating to the transportation of migrants during the COVID-19 disaster. This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force unless it is modified, amended, rescinded or superseded by the governor.
On July 29, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-38 relating to the continued response to the COVID-19 disaster. This executive order supersedes all pre-existing pandemic-related executive orders and rescinds them in their entirety, except that it does not supersede or rescind Executive Orders GA-13 or GA-37.
On Aug. 18, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a press release announcing additional federal COVID-19 relief assistance payments for local communities.
On Aug. 25, 2021, Gov. Abbott issued Executive Order GA-39 relating to prohibiting vaccine mandates and vaccine passports subject to legislative action. GA-39 supersedes only paragraph two of Executive Order GA-38 and does not supersede or otherwise affect the remaining paragraphs of GA-38.
Guidance for County Officials
We offer the following information on specific statutory responsibilities that may be implemented by county officials as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves.
COVID-19 Guidance from TAC Legal Services
Communications Relating to County Responsibilities:
- Registration and Title Requirements, Parking Placards, Temporary Registration Permits
- Proclamation Allowing for Postponement of Local Elections
- Secretary of State Elections Advisory: Actions for May 2 Uniform Election Date
- Residential Eviction Proceedings
- Open Meeting Laws Subject to Temporary Suspension
- Health Care Fees Waived for Incarcerated Texans in TDCJ Facilities
- Temporary Suspension of Residential Eviction Proceedings
- 14-Day Quarantine For Travelers Arriving From New York Tri-State Area, New Orleans
- HHSC Request Of 1135 Medicaid Waiver
- Action To Expand Texas Hospital Capacity
- Approval Of Major Disaster Declaration
- Federal Grant for Senior Citizen Meals
- Order To Strengthen Reporting Capabilities
- Certain Regulations for Telemedicine
- AG Guidance: Orders issued by local officials do not apply to restrict the conduct of state business.
- AG Opinion KP-0396: Orders issued under Gov't Code section §418.108 may not regulate or restrict the sale of firearms.
- Executive Order No. GA-13 relating to detention in county and municipal jails during the COVID-19 disaster.
- AG Files Intervention to Prevent the Release of Over 4,000 Dangerous Individuals in Harris County.
- Governor mandates 14-Day Quarantine For Road Travelers Arriving In Texas From Any Location In Louisiana.
- AG Warns Texans to Be Aware of Scams and Price Gouging
- Governor and AG Guidance for Houses of Worship Operating as Essential Services
- AG Guidance for Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis
- AG Opinion KP-0299: Purely economic, non-physical damage to property caused by the COVID-19 disaster is not eligible for the temporary tax exemption provided by section 11.35 of the Tax Code.
- AG Letter to Chairwoman Klick, concluding that fear of contracting COVID-19 unaccompanied by a qualifying sickness or physical condition does not constitute a disability under the Election Code for purposes of receiving a ballot by mail.
- AG Opinion KP-0304: Government Code section 418.108 does not, by itself, authorize a county judge, a mayor of a municipality, or any other local government official to commandeer private property to respond to a disaster.
- AG Opinion KP-0305: A Texas driver's license that on its face lists an expiration date of March 13, 2020, or later is not expired under the Governor's suspension of laws and related DPS guidance until 60 days after the DPS provides further public notice that normal driver's license operations have resumed.
- AG Opinion KP-0306:The Dallas County Judge does not have authority to regulate the operation of pawnshops during the COVID-19 disaster declaration.
- AG Opinion KP-0307: Tax Code subsection 41.45(o) and 34 Texas Administrative Code subsection 9.805(d) do not allow appraisal review boards to require protest hearings to be conducted by videoconference in lieu of in-person hearings when requested by a property owner.
- AG Opinion KP-0308: The Texas and U.S. Constitutions prohibit governmental action that unlawfully discriminates on the basis of residence; thus, to the extent a local ordinance restricting access to or limiting occupancy of private property exceeds these boundaries, it is unconstitutional.
- AG Legal Guidance on School Reopening
- AG Opinion KP-0323: Authority of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County to prohibit service and access to its transit authority system to a person who refuses to comply with a rule requiring facial coverings.
- AG Opinion KP-0322: County authority to require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county buildings.
- AG Opinion KP-0324: Authority of local governmental entities operating under local emergency declarations, to delay, prohibit, or restrict eviction procedures established by the Legislature in chapter 24 of the Property Code
Texas Association of Counties (800) 456-5974
TAC Legal Services Department (888) 275-8224
TAC Risk Management Pool Claims (855) 472-5246
Texas Department of Emergency Management (512) 424-2208
THIS PUBLICATION IS A RESEARCH TOOL AND NOT THE COUNSEL OF AN ATTORNEY. THIS PUBLICATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY.
It is provided without warranty of any kind and, as with any research tool, should be double checked against relevant statutes, case law, attorney general opinions and advice of legal counsel e.g., your county attorney. Each public officer is responsible for determining duties of the office or position held. Any question regarding such duties should be directed to competent legal counsel for a written opinion.