Texans are hardly rookies when it comes to the back-and-forth between local government officials and Austin. They’ve seen it countless times during weather emergencies or the legislative session.
But the pandemic elevated these tensions to new heights, and Texans looking for a coordinated response were quickly let down. Leaders of Texas’ major cities acted early to “flatten the curve” only to have the state step in and reverse those decisions. Other times, the state took the lead, and those rules eventually trickled down to local levels.
Texas Standard is documenting those decisions here, in a timeline and interactive map below, to illustrate state and local leaders’ responses to this year’s deadly pandemic. It’s an effort to hold leaders accountable, but also to begin to understand whether state or local authority, or a mix of both, is best for managing a widespread public health crisis.