Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced in an Aug. 10 social media post that Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee had been authorized to take legal action challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that prohibits local government entities from mandating face masks.

This announcement comes in the wake of multiple area school district leaders discussing mask mandates ahead of the 2021-22 school year despite the governor’s May 18 order, including Houston ISD and Spring ISD.

The county also raised its COVID-19 threat level to red—signifying severe risks for unvaccinated individuals—on Aug. 5 due to rising case counts amid the delta variant.

“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 the statement. “Protecting the community during an emergency is a duty, not an option for government leaders.”