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Aug 07

August 7, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #99

Posted on August 7, 2020 at 1:31 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


What’s the latest with regard to the effect of the pandemic on the upcoming legislative session?


The Texas Tribune ran a story with some interesting commentary on the upcoming session. The article states that:


“Some of it [other than the state budget and redistricting] can wait. And if the coronavirus is thriving in January anything like it’s thriving now, lawmakers will be faced then – like educators and parents and students are faced today – with decisions about what’s safe and what’s right.


And they’re going to have some explaining to do if what they do for themselves is much different from what they prescribe for the rest of us.”


Has the governor made additional statements about school re-opening in the fall?


No, but confusion remains. The Texas Tribune reported on the issue today (August 7).


What additional information has the Secretary of State sent out regarding postponed elections?


Today (August 7), the Secretary of State’s Elections Division issued the following related to election forms for postponed elections:


“Dear Election Officials and Vendors:


As part of the July 27, 2020 proclamation issued by Governor Abbott suspending certain provisions of the Texas Election Code, a number of forms had to be updated. The following forms have been updated to reflect the changes related to the Governor’s proclamation.  These forms will be posted to the SOS website. Please note, these revisions only apply to the November 3, 2020 elections. If you have already printed your forms or you have old stock that you planned on using, you may modify the form to include the changed language with a sticker. I’ve attached the documents as Word versions in case you need to make modifications related to the forms. Please remember that modifications to official forms need to be approved by the Secretary of State’s office.


-“Dear Voter” Letter (English/Spanish)

-Information about Returning Your Carrier Envelope (Carrier Insert) (Form 5-22b)

-Information about Returning Your Carrier Envelope (FPCA Carrier Insert) (Form 5-35)

-Roster for Voters Hand-Delivering Carrier Envelope (Form 5-11a)

-Ballot Envelope (Form 5-21f, Word) (will provide language for sticker if envelopes already printed)


Additionally, the updated November 3, 2020 calendar should be released next week. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.


Thank you,

Christina Worrell Adkins

Legal Director – Elections Division

Office of the Texas Secretary of State

1019 Brazos Street | Rudder Building, 2nd Floor | Austin, Texas 78701

1.800.252.VOTE (8683)


Further Updates


What’s the latest from NLC related to congressional action on the next stimulus bill?


The National League of Cities sent the following yesterday (August 6):


Talks Continue As Differences Remain

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) both sounded an optimistic tone this morning on CNBC.


“Exactly when that deal comes together, I can't tell you, but I think it will at some point in the near future,” McConnell said on CNBC.


Speaking just after McConnell on CNBC, Pelosi said, “will we find a solution? We will. Will we have an agreement? We will.”


Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met at 5 p.m. today in the Capitol. The meeting, the 10th meeting between the foursome, lasted more than three hours.


After the meeting, it appears that the two sides are not any closer to an agreement on the major issues. Mnuchin said afterwards “on things like state and local ... we're still very far apart on that.” Meadows said “we still don't have a deal” for a COVID relief package and called the differences “still significant.”


“The president wants us to get a deal or move on and take actions,” Meadows added.


Schumer and Pelosi called the meeting disappointing. With The White House threatening to go it alone with executive actions, Schumer warned that any such action would be met with “litigation.”


The White House appears to be running out of patience with the Democratic negotiating pair and might act unilaterally the President tweeted today. “Upon departing the Oval Office for Ohio, I've notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options,” the President tweeted.


Pelosi, during a Thursday morning press conference, said that The White House must be confused if they think they can take these types of actions. And Schumer added that the best result would be a legislated result, not unilateral action.


Meadows put a Friday deadline for reaching a deal in principal or else The White House would go its own way.


Other senators also did not sound optimistic that a deal is close at hand. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key senator to negotiations, said “We might not get a deal. ... I think there's a lot of pessimism here -- will we get an agreement? Are we too far apart?”


He went on to add: “We’re at an impasse right now. I would hope over the next few days we can get together and do something that will help a lot of working people in America. Republicans and Democrats, get together. At the moment, it doesn't look promising.”


McConnell said on Wednesday that the Senate would be in next week, despite a planned recess for August. However, Politico is reporting that with no deal in sight, some senators might not come back next week unless there is a breakthrough.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that “some senators are going home” and “some are staying here” and they will return immediately if there's something to vote on. The House is also scheduled to be out next week.


Leap Forward For State and Local Aid

The top issue holding up negotiations is enhanced unemployment insurance, and at what level the benefits should be set.


This morning during her press conference, Pelosi linked unemployment and state and local aid together.

She said that 1.5 million state and local employees have been laid off since the pandemic began and nearly 4 million more could be laid off if nothing is done.


This week, NLC began pushing the message that relief for state and local aid will ensure that millions of people are not added to the unemployment rolls in the coming months. Our message was reiterated by Pelosi.


Tying these two democratic priorities together will help ensure that state and local will not be left behind in negotiations.”


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.