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Jun 04

June 4, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #57

Posted on June 4, 2020 at 2:55 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Has TML communicated to the governor the concerns of cities in counties under 500,000 regarding TDEM’s restriction on the uses of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funds?


Yes. Today (June 4), TML sent a letter to the governor asking that the state eliminate the so-called “75 percent limitation” on the use of CRF funds for those cities.


With regard to an application-based allotment from TDEM for cities in counties with less than 500,000 population, those cities must use the funds in accordance with the guidance from the Treasury Department. In addition, the point of the letter is that the state has placed further limitations in the Coronavirus Relief Fund Terms and Conditions document, which contains the following statement regarding the use of grant money allocated from TDEM to cities:


“The subrecipient agrees that a minimum of 75% of its allotment will be spent in the categories of medical expenses, public health expenses and payroll expenses for employees substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the public emergency. The remainder of the allotment may be spent in any of the categories provided within the Treasury guidance.”


Every city is different and providing flexibility for the use of CRF funds would allow cities to better tailor recovery efforts to the unique challenges in each city. 


Further Updates


What’s the latest in the mail-in ballot controversy?


The ping-pong match of court battles over the use of mail-in ballots by those who fear contracting COVID-19 at the polls continues. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion that, for now, essentially precludes a voter from voting by mail based on that fear.


The federal court controversy began when the Texas Democratic Party and others sued the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and Travis and Bexar Counties in federal court seeking to allow mail-in ballots for those afraid of contracting the virus.


The federal district court judge issued a 74-page order that would have allowed any voter to vote by mail-in ballot. The attorney general immediately appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay of the district judge’s ruling.


Today, that same appeals court issued the opinion ordering that the stay continue permanently, pending further appeals.


Presumably, the Democratic Party will eventually appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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


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