CORRECTION: The link to the FEMA Public Assistance Handbook in the third paragraph
of the following Q&A from Update #170 has been updated to a newer
Has the new administration taken action related to Federal
Emergency Management Agency reimbursement?
Yes. Last week, President Biden issued a memorandum that increased FEMA’s cost share to 100
percent federal. However, it was not clear if this adjustment would be
retroactive. On February 2, the Biden Administration issued a revised memorandum clarifying that FEMA will be
“retroactively reimbursing states fully for the FEMA-eligible services –
including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk
populations and mobilization of the National Guard – backdated to the
beginning of the pandemic in January 2020.”
The revised memorandum states that FEMA shall provide a 100
percent federal cost share for all work eligible for assistance under Public Assistance Category B, pursuant to the
Stafford Act, that was performed from January 20, 2020 through January 20,
City officials should contact their regional FEMA offices to
ensure they receive the full reimbursement for the cost share adjustment.
What’s the latest with expired drivers licenses and vehicle
In March 2020, the governor granted a waiver for those with
expiring drivers’ licenses/identification cards and motor vehicle
registrations. The Texas Department of Public Safety announced those waivers will end on April 14, 2021.
Similarly, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced that the governor’s March 2020 waiver for
expired motor vehicle registration will end on April 14, 2020.
Each link above leads to explanations regarding online
renewals, appointments for in-person renewals, and other beneficial
The end of these waivers will impact, among other things, city
police department operations.
What is the status of the suspended Open Meetings Act
On February 4, the governor’s office extended the Open Meetings Act suspensions for another 30
Previously, on March 16, 2020, the governor granted the office
of the attorney general’s request for suspension of certain open meeting statutes. The temporary suspension
allows, among other things, for telephonic or videoconference meetings of
governmental bodies that are accessible to the public in an effort to reduce
in-person meetings that assemble large groups of people. The guidance associated with the suspension provides that:
“These suspensions are in effect until terminated by the office of the
governor, or until the March 13, 2020, disaster declaration is lifted or
The March 13 declaration has been extended for successive
30-day periods, including the February 4 extension. That means the relevant
open meetings laws remain suspended for at least another 30 days (or until
We still can’t be certain, but it is highly likely that the
governor will continue to repeatedly extend his declarations. We’ve heard
from his staff that they have no immediate plans to rescind the suspensions.
It’s likely that legislation will soon be filed to make some of the
governor’s suspensions permanent.
What is the state doing to help Texans avoid eviction during
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is using
$1.3 billion in funds from the most recent federal stimulus bill to assist
renters with rent and utility bills. The Texas Rent Relief Program website has detailed
information for landlords and renters.
What pandemic-related state legislation has been filed thus
League staff summarizes each city-related bill in the Legislative Update newsletter, which is included
in your Friday “TML Exchange” email. The bills are categorized by
For the current legislative session, we’ve added the new
subject heading of “Emergency Management.” Many pandemic-related bills
will show up in that section, with some falling under other headings, such as
Open Government, Public Safety, etc. Also, a complete list of bills filed to date by subject matter is
updated each week.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.