AUSTIN, Texas — A Facebook group with over 30 thousand members failed in their hope of stopping Governor Greg Abbott from opting out of federal unemployment benefits.
Local attorney David Sibley filed a temporary restraining order Thursday in Travis County District Court against Abbott. That hearing was held Friday.
In short, the petition alleges that the Texas Workforce Commission, not the governor, has the authority to halt any additional federal unemployment benefits.
Before issuing the ruling the judge said that he had concerns regarding the litigants standing and believed standing would exist with the TWC, however, he did not expand on the ruling but simply stated the TRO was denied, Sibley told KRIS 6 News.
"I mean it’s definitely a letdown but I wouldn’t say that this will be the end of the battle," said Darlinda Perkins, one of several litigants. "The only thing that I can say is that we fought tooth and nail and we fought it to the end."
Sibley says the denial of the TRO does not preclude them from seeking an injunction, which they intend to do. That hearing will likely take place in a few weeks.
Governor Abbott has opted out of all federal unemployment assistance programs. This includes an additional $300 per week in benefits that is set to expire for Texas residents on Saturday.
The program had also provided relief to individuals not traditionally provided protection under the state's unemployment program, such as gig workers and those who are self-employed. Those will no longer be covered after Saturday.
KRIS 6 News has reached out to a spokesperson with Abbott's office for comment.
Members of the group, Texas Unemployment Updates, started a Go Fund Me to hire Sibley. The group formed to help individuals who had been laid off or furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic navigate the unemployment application and appeal process.
This is a developing story. Follow KRIS 6 News for updates.