A number of influential Texas conservatives are protesting in support of Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was fined and sentenced to seven days in jail for violating an order to shut down her company during the COVID-19 outburst.
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Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, was among the most outspoken, calling her penalty “terrible” and “straight-up wrong.” “We shouldn’t come down with a seven-day jail, no bail sentence for her trying to keep her hair salon open because she needs to look after her children,” he said in a live interview with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday.
His opinion was shared by the likes of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, along with conservative activists who protested Wednesday in Dallas.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who reopened hair salons on Friday after calling them non-essential for weeks, also said on Wednesday that Shelley’s sentence was “excessive,” adding that “Chailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last option available.” “Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is critical for maintaining public safety,” Abbott, a Republican, said in his statement. “Yet there are certainly less restrictive ways to achieve that goal than jailing a Texas mother.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also a Republican, called Wednesday to free Luther from jail.