Houstonians are suing Gov. Greg Abbott over executive orders amid coronavirus crisis

Business owners, religious organizations are among the plaintiffs

HOUSTON – Norman Adams owns an insurance business in the Heights. His firm is an essential business. However, the people he does business with don't have that designation. Conducting a profitable business has been tough, he said.

Adams is among two dozen people and groups suing Governor Greg Abbott, declaring his executive orders unconstitutional.

"Let me make something real clear, nobody loves Governor Greg Abbott more than I do," Adams said Friday.

But Adams and Jared Woodfill, an attorney who has filed a series of applications for temporary restraining orders and lawsuits over the last month, believe that the governor's restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic are on shaky legal grounds.

“The 1975 disaster declaration act is unconstitutional, we believe, to the extent that it does allow him to suspend laws. The constitution makes very clear that only legislature can suspend laws,” Woodfill said.

The 45-year-old law gives broad powers to the Governor of Texas to supersede and suspend laws in emergency situations. A hearing is expected on the matter within three weeks. However, the Texas economy could be more open and less restrictive by that point.

“I don’t know what the next disease will be, but this is going to happen every year,” Adams said. “My businesses and the businesses I do business with can’t afford this.”

Here is a petition signed by local business owners: