What action has the governor taken with regard to the
approaching storms and COVID-19?
All eyes are on tropical storms Laura and Marco as they move
towards the Texas Gulf Coast. Marco appears to be weakening, but Laura
is expected to get stronger and reach hurricane designation soon. Exact
landfall locations remain to be seen, but forecasters predict they are likely
to split the Texas/Louisiana border.
In the event that Marco defies forecasters and becomes a
hurricane, and Laura follows suit, that would – in fact – be the first time
in recorded history that two hurricanes stirred the waters of the Gulf
at the same time. According to KSAT News (San Antonio’s ABC affiliate), the following
are the only times two tropical cyclones were in the Gulf of Mexico
1. September 5-6, 2002 (18 hour overlap): (1) Tropical Storm
Fay (in the northwest Gulf of Mexico); and (2) Tropical Depression Edouard
(weakened after crossing Florida from east to west).
2. June 17-18, 1959 (8 hour overlap): (1) Tropical Storm
Beulah (made landfall well south of the US-Mexican border); and (2)
“Hurricane 3” (was a tropical storm in the Gulf, before crossing the Florida
Peninsula and intensifying over the Atlantic).
In preparation, the governor declared a state of disaster for 23 Texas counties. The
declaration includes all 22 coastal surge counties identified by the National
Weather Service, and it also inlcudes Bexar County (which is included for
staging and sheltering).
According to KXAN News (Austin’s NBC affiliate), the governor said
that mitigating the spread of COVID-19 throughout any evacuation efforts is a
“‘As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are
fully prepared to respond to the oncoming hurricanes of Marco and Laura,’
Abbott explained that the Texas Division of Emergency
Management has activated the Alamo Regional Command Center and has ordered
100 buses to arrive at the center by Sunday. Additionally, Texas Department
of Public Safety, Parks and Wildlife, and Texas Task Force 1 will all be on
hand to assist.
TDEM has also activated fuel and hygiene services, based on
need during previous hurricanes, like Hurricane Harvey. This is in addition
to the activation of resources to shelter at least 5,000 evacuees.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has
activated 50 ambulances and identified two facilities — one in San Antonio
and the other north of Houston — that will be able to care for COVID-19
patients during the storms.
More than 800 personnel from the Texas Military Division,
including the National Guard, are being assigned to sheltering teams,
disinfecting teams, and mobile testing squads.
The state is also preparing for flooding, especially on
I-10. The Texas Department of Transportation is on standby
with seven miles of barriers and pumps.”
The President and FEMA today approved the governor’s request for a federal disaster
declaration. More information is available on the Texas Hurricane Center website.
Let’s all send good thoughts to our fellow Texans in the
unusual path of two storms.
What’s the latest with regard to the President’s executive
order extending the federal unemployment benefit subsidy?
According to The Texas Tribune, “Unemployed Texans could begin
receiving $300 in extra weekly jobless payments as soon as next week.” That’s
according to a Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson, after the state
received Federal Emergency Management Agency funding approval on Friday.
“We are anticipating to try to have that ready by next week so
when people make their payment request, we can begin adding that on,” said
the agency spokesperson. “It is possible there could be some delays, but it
should be pretty quick.”
The final subsidy is less than the expired $600 amount provide
for in the CARES Act and the $400 originally-proposed by the
President. The State of Texas has chosen to forgo an additional
$100 state component, but $300 per week will certainly be welcomed by
The Texas Workforce Commission has provided detailed benefits information for out-of-work
Texans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also published a Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance Fact Sheet and
Frequently Asked Questions page providing answers to
common questions raised by states.
What’s the latest from the Secretary of State’s Elections
Division with regard to the November election?
The Elections Division issued Mass Email Advisory (CS0-3295) -
Advisories 2020-23 and 2020-24:
“Dear Election Officials
Our office has released the following two advisories that are
attached to this email:
-2020-23 – Ballot Corrections
-2020-24 – Election Procedures for Entities who Postponed
their Election to November 3, 2020
We have also provided two additional documents related to
-The first document includes sample language that can be used for
some of the letters you may be sending out related to pending ballot requests
and/or mailed ballots from elections postponed from May 2020 to November
-The second document is a special cancellation form that can be used
for certain mail ballot voters that have already returned their voted mail
ballots for elections that were postponed from May 2020 to November 2020.
When posted these advisories will be located on your Conducting Elections pages.
Thank you all for your hard work. Please let us
know if you have any questions or concerns.
Christina Worrell Adkins
Legal Director – Elections Division
Office of the Texas Secretary of State
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.