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Apr 01

April 1, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #13

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 4:30 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Has the governor issued clarification regarding his order from yesterday?


Yes, although not in relation to how the order interacts with local orders or whether local orders can be more stringent than the governor’s. Yesterday, the governor issued a new executive order that supersedes his original social distancing order. The Texas Division of Emergency Management today issued further guidance regarding which businesses are essential services. Beyond that, what cities can and cannot do relative to the governor’s order remains unclear. The League is attempting to obtain clarification from the Governor’s office.


In yesterday’s action, the governor suspended Section 418.108 of the Texas Government Code (The Texas Disaster Act) and several other laws, some of which are unnamed, “to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions inconsistent with this executive order, provided that local officials may enforce this executive order as well as local restrictions that are consistent with this executive order.” Section 418.108 is the core authority for mayors to declare, and city councils to extend, local states of disaster, including movement of persons and occupation of premises.  One thing that seems clear is that a city can at least continue its basic local declaration (which is probably needed to seek future FEMA reimbursement).


How can we help the National League of Cities with its Coronavirus efforts on behalf of cities?


The National League of Cities (NLC) is working to obtain funding for all cities, regardless of size. To effectively do that, they need data on municipal budgets.


NLC, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has prepared a very short, easy-to-complete survey to ascertain how much revenue cities expect to lose, both short- and long term. Please complete the survey by Friday, April 3. Results will be analyzed and shared.


What more can be done to ensure that cities under 500,000 population receive direct federal funding to respond to local challenges created by COVID-19?


While the Department of Treasury weighs city arguments in favor of allowing cities under 500,000 in population to directly access funding under the Coronavirus Relief Fund created by the CARES Act, NLC is encouraging cities nationwide to urge their congressional delegation to sign onto a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing that federal funding of these cities should be a priority in any future federal relief package. The form letter can be found here


Further Updates


Has the Department of Labor issued final regulations related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?


Yes. This afternoon, the Department issued a 124-page final rule (pending publication) implementing the emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. League staff will review and provide more information in a future update.