Here are things to know for Wednesday, April 7:
1. Abbott signs order restricting coronavirus vaccination mandates, passports
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Monday that restricts the ability to require coronavirus vaccinations and so-called vaccination passports.
According to the order, no governmental entity can require a person to receive a COVID-19 shot. State agencies are also prohibited from requiring people to provide proof of a vaccination as a condition of receiving a service or entering a place. The order also applies to any public or private entity that is receiving public funds “in whole or in part.”
The proof-of-vaccination order does not apply to nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities or long-term care facilities. Those places can still require a resident to provide proof of their vaccination status.
2. ERCOT report on storm blames weather for most power outages but doesn’t explain why plants weren’t prepared
A preliminary report released Tuesday by the agency overseeing most of the Texas power grid blames weather for most of the outages that happened during February’s winter storm, but it fails to explain why plants across the state were unprepared for the arctic cold.
The report issued by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas relied on responses to information requests sent to entities representing power generators or energy storage resources.
According to the report, the highest amount of unavailable power generation was between February 14 to 19. Approximately 8 a.m. Feb. 16 was the peak, with 51,173 megawatts of power lost. For context, 1 megawatt powers about 200 homes.
3. State lawmakers looking to rein in abusive HOAs
From overreaching homeowner’s association boards that try to control what you can do with your property to corrupt directors, KPRC 2 News has shown you the stories right here in Houston and across Texas that are frustrating hardworking homeowners.
Now, state leaders are looking to reign them in. There are nearly three dozen HOA bills pending before the Texas Legislature now. These are the bills that could have the biggest impact on you and your family:
4. Texas lawmakers consider bill named after Missouri City woman killed in a crosswalk in 2017
Texas lawmakers considered the Lisa Torry Smith Act on Tuesday, three-and-a-half years after Smith was hit and killed in a crosswalk in Missouri City while walking her son to school on his first day.
The 6-year-old kindergartner suffered a broken femur and shattered pelvis in the October 2017 incident.
The driver of the SUV that hit the Smiths was ticketed but not charged criminally and not indicted by a grand jury because the law didn’t allow it.
The Lisa Torry Smith Act would make it a Class A misdemeanor to hit someone in a crosswalk, and a “state jail felony” if the victim “suffered serious bodily injury.”
5. Several Houston-area school districts report problems with online STAAR testing, plan to resume Wednesday
Several school districts in the Houston area reported problems Tuesday with the online version of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test.
In an email obtained by KPRC 2 Investigates, officials at the Texas Education Agency notified schools of technical difficulties with online STAAR testing.
“Our vendor, ETS, is currently investigating the reports,” the email read.
Later the TEA released a statement, “... We understand the frustration this has caused students, parents, teachers, and administrators. What happened today is completely unacceptable. ETS, the testing vendor, experienced problems with their database system, which are in the process of being corrected. The 2021 online administration of STAAR will be ETS’s last for the State of Texas. Beginning next school year, Cambium Assessment will be taking over these critical testing functions to ensure that users have a seamless online testing experience moving forward.