Judge Jill Willis of the 429th District Court on March 31 denied Derek V. Baker’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have stopped the city of McKinney from enforcing its shelter-in-place ordinance.
As recently as March 27, both Baker and McKinney Mayor George Fuller expected the judge would rule against the city.
But Willis said it became clear in recent days that the state law in question—which allows county emergency orders to supersede those of city mayors—no longer applied after the McKinney City Council extended the mayor’s policy March 27 by adopting it as an ordinance.
“Picking one policy over another based on my own personal preferences would be veering out of my judicial lane,” Willis said.
The lawsuit prompted Fuller and a number of other area mayors to seek clarification from County Judge Chris Hill over the weekend. Hill’s declaration ordered residents of all Collin County cities to stay home except for travel related to essential activities. It went on to define all business as essential.
Since Hill issued his order last week, several cities went on to approve their own shelter-in-place orders, including Frisco and McKinney. These measures were more restrictive than the county’s, closing a number of additional businesses that were deemed nonessential.
The city of Plano was expected to consider adopting a similar policy April 1.
At the mayors’ request, Hill went on to clarify his position at March 30's county commissioners meeting.
“It has always been my intention to allow the cities and the mayors the room to implement their own guidelines in addition to mine,” Hill said at the meeting. “Some mayors have seen fit to put additional guidelines in place. I’m not the arbiter of their guidelines.”