Ken Paxton


Pursuant to section 418.108 of the Government Code, a county judge may declare a local state of disaster.  Local disaster powers of a county are limited by any existing state law, including any executive orders or proclamations issued by the Governor. 

The county judge may terminate a local disaster declaration at any time, and the commissioners court may prevent the extension of the declaration beyond seven days or revoke consent for its continuation thereafter.

A county judge lacks authority to declare a new disaster for the same underlying circumstances without the consent of the commissioners court following the first seven-day period. 

A surge of individuals crossing the border into the county could and has created circumstances warranting emergency action and a local disaster declaration.

A county judge lacks authority to pay bills incurred by the county out of the contingent and uncommitted fund without the commissioners court’s approval.

Opinion File