Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance plans to sue the state over Abbott’s order to shut down bars

AUSTIN – The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance has announced it plans to sue the state of Texas over Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order to shut down bars across the state.

The decision comes after Abbott decided to close bars again on Friday amid rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state. The association is now encouraging bar owners to violate the order.

The organization described Abbott’s actions as being “irresponsible and shameful.”

“...we support our members in the constitutional right to protest by keeping your businesses open,” TBNA said in a Facebook post.

TBNA Members, In light of Greg Abbott’s irresponsible and shameful actions this morning that shutter the businesses...

Posted by Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance Convention on Saturday, June 27, 2020

According to TBNA, they have been in touch with attorney Brent Webster and his firm, Edwards Sutarwalla, PLLC for guidance and representation.

“Any business or business owner that chooses to exercise their right to protest and is ticketed, fined, suspended licensed and/or criminally charged, we have counsel standing by to aid if you would like their assistance,” TBNA’s Facebook post said. “Unfortunately, TBNA’s coffers cannot cover everyone’s individual legal expenses but our Board members have been generous in retaining legal counsel on behalf of all 51% licenses across the state so that we can file suit this week against the State in both state court and federal court seeking a TRO to end the Governor’s overreach.”

Houston attorney Jared Woodfill with Woodfill Law Firm filed a lawsuit Monday against the State of Texas. Woodfill is representing at least 50 bar owners who said Governor Abbott’s order is unconstitutional.

“He’s picking and choosing winners and losers,” Woodfill said. “Why is it OK for a tattoo studio, a cosmetologist, a barber, hair removal? They can all stay in business and make money and profit and rightfully so but at the same time bar owners are sentenced to bankruptcy.”

Woodfill said his clients, many of which align with the governor’s base, are also asking for checks and balances by the State Legislature.

“We don’t elect kings. We don’t have a monarchy. We have a republic and it’s high time that our duly elected officials meet as a body and discuss and debate legislation and discuss the right course to follow instead of one individual,” added Woodfill.

On Monday, restaurants had to scale back to 50% capacity.

Abbott’s order said any establishment that receives more than 51% of its sales from alcohol must close its doors but can still have takeout and delivery orders.

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