Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper Exposing Overreach: Tarrant County.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, broad authority has been granted and used to impose a variety of rules and restrictions on Texans,” said Shelby Sterling, policy analyst with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Most of these guidelines are grounded in reason however some have been less reasonable and, in some cases, unlawful. The most egregious instances of government overreach have occurred at the local level. In Tarrant County, a judge issued an executive order prohibiting and restricting travel, business activities, public gatherings, medical procedures, and more. One provision authorized the county to commandeer private property for a variety of uses and raised legal question about whether the law allows for private property to be commandeered during a disaster.”

Key Points:

  • Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code grants state and local authorities temporary emergency powers to protect public health and safety.
  • In some cases, these emergency powers have given rise to government overreach, as was evidenced with Tarrant County’s executive order allowing it to seize private property.
  • Eminent domain authorizes governmental entities to take private property through due process and requisite compensation.

To read the paper in full, please visit: