Is state government doing anything to help with the recent
surge of Coronavirus cases in El Paso and Lubbock?
Yes. Yesterday (November 11), Governor Abbott announced the
deployment of additional state resources to the areas, including Auxiliary
Medical Units to Lubbock and the availability of additional medical personnel
from TDEM and DSHS to El Paso, to join the 1,350 workers already there.
The assistance comes as El Paso County extended its three-week
shutdown of nonessential businesses, as reported by The
Texas Tribune. The Attorney General is challenging the legality of
the county’s order, but the Texas Supreme Court declined to intervene in the
case on Wednesday, deferring to the 8th Court
of Appeals which is expected to rule this week. A state district court
last Friday declined to quash the county’s order.
With pre-filing of bills underway for the 2021 legislative
session, have bills been filed related to Coronavirus that would have an
effect on cities?
Yes. Following are some of the bills filed so far related
to or stemming from the pandemic that could have an effect on cities. Summaries
of all city-related bills filed can be accessed in each Friday’s Legislative
Update, published in the weekly TML Exchange e-newsletter and available here.
H.B. 26 (Swanson) – Weapons: would
eliminate the governor’s authority to: (1) limit the sale, dispensing, or
transportation of firearms during a state of disaster; and (2) issue
directives on the control of the sale, transportation, and use of weapons
during a state of emergency.
H.B. 34 (Canales) – Disease Presumption: would,
among other things, add a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 by a test
approved by the CDC to the workers’ compensation disease presumption statute.
H.B. 89 (Canales) – Sales Tax Exemption: would
exempt the following from sales and use taxes as “emergency preparation
items”: (1) medical or other face masks used to protect the nose and
mouth of a person wearing the mask from potential contaminants, or from
transmission of particles from the person wearing the mask; (2) disposable
gloves the primary purpose of which is to act as a protective barrier to
prevent the possible transmission of disease; and (3) disinfectant cleaning
supplies, including bleach products and sanitizing wipes.
H.B. 173 (Springer) – Emergency Powers Board: would: (1)
establish the Emergency Powers Board to provide oversight during a declared
state of disaster, including a declared public health disaster; (2) provide
that the Board is made up of the governor, lieutenant governor, the speaker
of the house, the chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee; and the chair
of the House State Affairs Committee; (3) provide that after the eighth day
after the date the governor issues an executive order, proclamation, or
regulation related to a declared state of disaster or public health disaster,
the Board, by a majority vote, may set an expiration date for the order,
proclamation, or regulation; (4) the board may meet by telephone conference,
videoconference, or other similar telecommunication method provided that the
requirements of the Open Meetings Act are met; and (5) if an executive order,
proclamation, or regulation issued by the governor has an expiration date set
by the governor and not modified by the Board that is on or after the 22nd day after the date the order, proclamation,
or regulation is issued, the governor shall convene a special legislative
session to determine whether any legislation is necessary to implement,
modify, or repeal the order, proclamation, or regulation.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject