New hurdle for COVID-19 home testing — the holiday season
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more home tests for COVID-19 are hitting store shelves, but will there be enough for Americans hoping to screen themselves before holiday gatherings?Gone are last year's lon[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
LETTERS: Back-alley abortions
The question we need to ask is how many women in Texas will die having to resort to back-alley abortions. I’ve heard horror stories from my aunts and their friends of young girls they knew who had back-alley abortions. They would tell of having a hanger used on them to have the abortion done. They also would go on to say that three of their friends bled to death after having one of these illegal abortions.myrgv.com
Texas colleges and universities get more than $3 billion for campus construction projects under bill headed to Gov. Greg Abbott
Before ending the special session Tuesday, Texas lawmakers reached a deal to allocate roughly $3.3 billion to higher education institutions for capital projects. The price tag went up from the Senate's original proposal.
Here’s what we know about the Governor’s vaccine mandate ban, the cost of the pandemic and vaccines for young children – Houston Public Media
A pediatric infectious diseases expert and a health economist discuss vaccines for children under 12 and the cost of the pandemic. Plus, we dive into Governor Abbott’s latest executive order to prohibit vaccine mandates.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texas Companies Are Stuck Between Mandates. What Now?
Texas businesses face risk and uncertainty as the state and federal government spar over Covid-19 vaccine mandates for employees. Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order Oct. 11 outlawing such requirements in the second-largest U.S. state. That immediately set up a clash with President Joe Biden, who issued an executive order Sept. 9 calling for employers with more than 100 workers to require Covid vaccines or weekly testing once the federal workplace health and safety regulator creates fwashingtonpost.com
LETTERS: Governing not complex
The Romans knew with their 2,000 years of experience that the governing racket isn’t complicated. All you’ve got to do is to suppress the unwashed people out of the political decisions by keeping their NFL and NBA going and the price of gasoline swallowable, and with plenty of Doritos. And the big guys will take care of the real game.myrgv.com
Gov. Greg Abbott adds property tax relief, bail to special session agenda
Abbott has faced pressure from his right to prioritize property tax relief. One of his challengers in the Republican primary has slammed him for not including it earlier in the agenda, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called it his top priority this session.
Gov. Greg Abbott calls special legislative session for redistricting, other conservative priorities starting Sept. 20
On top of redistricting, Abbott wants lawmakers to take up bills on restrictions for transgender student athletes and the allocation of billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Doctors Say Texas Leaders Failed To Stop COVID-19 From Spreading – Houston Public Media
Hospitals across the state are running low on pediatric intensive care unit beds. Texas’ Department of State Health Services says only 81 of them remain — and just a couple hundred more regular ICU beds are available in the state of 29 million people.houstonpublicmedia.org
After a nearly six-week exodus over GOP voting bill, enough Democrats return to Texas House to resume work
For the first time in nearly six weeks, enough lawmakers were present in the Texas House on Thursday for the chamber to conduct business — opening the door for the passage of the GOP priority election[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News, News - Mobile, News Alert San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Breaking Quorum, Voting Rights, Defying The Governor – What’s Going On With Texas Politics? – Houston Public Media
Today, experts discuss Texas politics, as the state makes national headlines for what’s going on in the legislature, voting rights, mask mandate bans and more. Plus, the White House announces a COVID vaccine booster plan.houstonpublicmedia.org
‘It’s the height of hypocrisy:’ After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott contracts covid-19, Democrats ramp up calls for mask mandates
The news that Abbott had tested positive prompted well-wishes, but also calls from some Democrats to drop his opposition to mask and vaccine mandates. His office says he would not reverse his stand.washingtonpost.com
Texas to spend $25 million on 2-mile concrete barrier amid Gov. Greg Abbott’s push for a state-funded border wall
The barrier in Eagle Pass is the first glimpse into how much a state-funded border wall could cost. But Abbott’s office says it’s a “concrete barrier” that is separate from his border wall push.
Biden administration looking for ways to pay Florida educators if DeSantis withholds their salaries over mask mandates
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week that the state might withhold school officials’ pay if they defy his ban and impose mask mandates. If that happens, the White House says it may find a way to pay them itself.washingtonpost.com
San Marcos CISD Board of Trustees to consider mask mandate for upcoming school year
A mask mandate for San Marcos Consolidated ISD students and employees will be up for consideration at an upcoming board of trustees meeting.[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] Breaking News, News, News - Mobile, News Alert San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
VYPE 411: Olivia Abbott of Stratford
Olivia Abbott recently won the <a href="https://www.vype.com/Texas/Houston/vype-houston-public-school-preseason-middle-blocker-of-the-year-fan-poll" target="_blank">VYPE Houston Public School Preseason Libero of the Year Fall Poll</a>! <a href="http://vype.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">VYPE</a> caught up with Abbott for the 411 on the star from <a href="https://www.vype.com/c/spring-branch-isd" target="_blank">Stratford</a>.
Hidalgo County asks feds not to release migrants with COVID-19
Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez on Tuesday asked the federal government to stop releasing migrants who test positive for COVID-19 while simultaneously asking the governor to return the authority to implement safety mandates, like using masks in public. Overwhelmed by the number of migrants crossing illegally, Border Patrol officials also proposed closing down multiple checkpoints to move agents into processing duties. All of it comes as COVID-19 figures continue to increase in Hidalgo County. “But ill-conceived policies by both the federal and state governments are beginning to have serious consequences on Hidalgo County. Abbott’s order, however, will not be enforced in the Rio Grande Valley, according to Texas Department of Public Safety officials.myrgv.com
LETTERS: Electric grid mismanaged
Gov. Abbott finally made it clear with his own recent orders that, despite the best advice available, his Republican government, for at least the past decade, has mismanaged the electric grid to the point where it cost Texans their lives, property and income.myrgv.com
Drivers who hit someone in a crosswalk in Texas could now face prison time thanks to new law named after Fort Bend County woman
Not many days after Lisa Torry Smith died in 2017, after family members learned it was not a crime in Texas to drive into someone in a crosswalk, they decided the law needed to change.
Gov. Greg Abbott says more apprehensions, drug seizures justify a border wall. Advocates say he's misrepresenting the numbers.
The governor said Texas needs to build a border wall to reduce migrant apprehensions and fentanyl seizures. But immigration and drug treatment experts say Abbott's oversimplifying the issue.
Gov. Greg Abbott formally opens Texas GOP bid to clamp down on local efforts expanding voting access
(Harris County planned to send out applications to request a mail-in ballot, not the actual ballots.) Harris County officials quickly fired back at Republicans’ proposals in their own press conference. Ad“These kinds of attempts to confuse, to intimidate, to suppress are a continuation of policies we’ve seen in this state since Reconstruction,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. In a previous interview, Harris County’s election administrator Isabel Longoria said she hoped those initiatives would become permanent for future elections. Election officials and even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr also said there was no evidence to back Republican claims.
Some Houston area businesses welcome statewide mask mandate removal, while other others fear backlash
HOUSTON – Masks will no longer be mandatory at Texas businesses starting Wednesday, March 10, per Gov. “Tomorrow I am not going to be enforcing the mask mandate because I think it’s up to the individual,” Contello said. AdShe added that customers can still choose to wear a mask if it would make them more comfortable while shopping. “If you want to stay home, stay home and be safe,” she added. Let’s get our life back on track.”Joseph said he hopes people who may not agree with his stance, not take it out on his restaurant’s employees.
Houston reaches grim milestone of 2,000 COVID-19 deaths
FILE - Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. HOUSTON – The city of Houston reached a grim milestone of the weekend. Officials said the death toll for COVID-19 has crossed 2,000 people, only a few days after the one-year anniversary of the first Houston-area COVID-19 case. In addition, he reported nearly 500 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths on Sunday. Turner did thank business owners and customers that have continued to wear masks, social distance and practice other COVID-19 safety precautions.
President Biden declares major disaster in Texas after winter storm
All rights reserved)President Joe Biden arrives at Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport to visit a Pfizer manufacturing site, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Portage, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after extreme winter weather caused power outages and water disruptions for millions in the state. Abbott requested the Major Disaster Declaration on Thursday, requesting individual assistance and public assistance in each of the state’s 254 counties. Abbot requested the Major Disaster Declaration in order to provide individual assistance, public assistance, and hazard mitigation for individuals and communities impacted by the severe winter weather. The Biden administration approved the request for individual assistance in 77 counties and for public assistance in all 254 counties. “I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” said Abbott in statement.
Houston Newsmakers: Record breaking winter weather cripples Texas
Investigating the Texas power gridThe forecast was for record breaking cold for Texas, including Houston. KPRC Investigates reporter Robert Arnold takes a deep dive into what went wrong and is a guest on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall. After his second impeachment acquittal, former president Trump may have a renewed ability to play a pivotal role in the future of the Republican Party but to what end? “He has the ability to make life very difficult for the Republican party, particularly in seats that are competitive seats where they want some moderate or centrist moderate candidates,” Jones said. “I think that he’s going to be the butt of national jokes for a while,” Professor Rottinghaus said.
‘This is unacceptable’: Abbott declares ERCOT reform an emergency item for legislature, wants investigation of agency
Greg Abbott on Tuesday declared the reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas an emergency item for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. I've asked the House State Affairs and Energy Resources Committees to convene a joint hearing on Feb. 25 about the factors that led to sustained power outages across Texas. Governor Dan Patrick also expressed his concerns over ERCOT’s handling of the power outages, announcing that the Senate Business & Commerce committee would move forward with hearings to assess the ERCOT’s operations.
After weeks as one of the nation's worst COVID-19 hot spots, Laredo leaders see no easy way out
Health care worker Mary Carreon administers a COVID-19 vaccine to an elderly patient in Laredo on Feb. 1. During an emergency city council meeting last week, Laredo officials passed a motion to request that the federal government send National Guard troops to help distribute vaccines. Treviño, the Laredo health authority, has repeatedly argued against stricter measures because of the economic damage they can cause. Martinez, the city council member, said many residents live paycheck-to-paycheck and don’t have savings to help them survive a city lockdown. “The little carnita asadas, the barbecues — as a result, we have high numbers of infections, and so one begets the other.”Richard Chamberlain, the city’s health director, said the best way out of the city’s COVID-19 crisis is through vaccinations.
Emergency SNAP benefits for March 2021 extended: Here’s what families need to know
HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size. The emergency March allotments are in addition to the more than $2.5 billion in benefits previously provided to Texans since April 2020. AdAdministered by HHSC, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1.6 million eligible low-income families and individuals in Texas. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits. “Providing emergency SNAP benefits is critical to our state’s ongoing COVID-19 response because it ensures that Texas families can continue to put healthy meals on the table,” said Governor Abbott.
Texas’ second round of COVID-19 vaccines earmarked for smaller hospitals and long-term care facility residents
Nearly a quarter-million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived at hospitals and health care facilities around Texas this week. Questions remain about who will be first in line for the vaccine once healthcare workers and long-term care residents have had their chance to be inoculated. Decisions on how vaccines are allocated are made by a state panel of advisers — composed of lawmakers, local and state health officials, and medical experts and researchers — and finalized by Hellerstedt. Texas is participating in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a federal program to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Vaccine doses will be distributed free to those facilities, which are set to receive them starting on Monday, Abbott’s office said last week.
Texas is on track for record turnout in this election after breaking early voting records
Voters wait in line at a polling site at Austin Oaks Church during early voting. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneAfter the conclusion of three weeks of early voting, 9.7 million Texans have cast ballots, crushing previous early voting totals in the state and setting Texas on a course for record turnout in this Tuesday's general election. Early voting, which Gov. Texas has added 1.8 million registered voters since the 2016 election. Among large counties, Collin County outside of Dallas has the highest early voting turnout with 69%.
KPRC Friday Football Frenzy Plays of the Week: Week 6
KPRC Friday Football Frenzy Plays of the Week are back. Here are the Week 6 Plays of the Week:Bronze: Kinkaid Wide Receiver Dillon Bell gets two plays - breaking a tackle on a touchdown run out of the Wildcat and a stiff arm on the next touchdown out of the same set. Bell had 4 rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in a 36-8 win for Kinkaid. Silver: Stratford Wide Receiver Hawkins Polley catches a ball across the middle from A.J. Gold: Katy running back Jalen Davis takes a pitch and breaks off a 70 yard touchdown run as part of a Katy win over Dickinson.
Galveston County judge to host ‘happy hour’ with residents to celebrate reopening of bars
GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston County Judge Mark Henry will celebrate the reopening of bars with residents by hosting a happy hour at Buccaneer Bar at Railean Rum Distillery in San Leon on Oct. 14. READ: County judges outline their plans for reopening bars after Abbott’s new orderOnce Judge Henry reviewed the governor’s announcement, he said he would allow bars to reopen earlier than Oct. 14. “I want to let small business owners know that I’ll be reopening bars immediately,” Henry wrote on Twitter Wednesday. He indicated on Thursday that Galveston County law enforcement would not intervene if bars decided to open even earlier. Judge Henry said that not only bar and nightclub owners were suffering during the closure period but so were service organizations.
Houston Newsmakers: Jackson Lee runs for 14th term in Congress
In thirteen previous elections to represent the 18th Congressional District, the opponents of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D) 18th, have averaged 19% of the vote. Jackson Lee says she’s worked hard to keep her job. Abbott’s order to cut number of mail in ballot sites--Election Security & a HOUSTON NEWSMAKERS EXTRA**Crime Stoppers Celebrates 40 Years! It’s been an amazing journey for Crime Stoppers of Houston. Rania Mankarious is CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston.
Boil water notice remains in effect for Lake Jackson over brain-eating amoeba concerns
LAKE JACKSON, Texas – Parents with children enrolled in Lake Jackson schools said that the past few days have been challenging with a boil order in effect. The City of Lake Jackson is under a boil order and Gov. Abbott issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria county after a 6-year-old died from a parasite found in the water. Officials say the boil water order will be in place until the water system is flushed and disinfected. Tuesday, he is expected to provide an update on the water supply in Lake Jackson.
Analysis: With schools opening, Texas enters a critical two weeks of the pandemic
The number of COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals has been falling, to 4,203 on Aug. 31 from a peak of more than 10,000 a few weeks ago. Abbott pointed at those three things schools, the holiday and hurricanes as areas of concern as he and other government officials decide whats next. School is a place for regular meals and a haven from turbulent homes, as well as a place for learning. Texas Christian University in Fort Worth reported 429 cases on campus Tuesday, and university officials suggested last week that parties and large gatherings were a cause. Disclosure: Baylor University and Texas Christian University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Ask 2: Do you have to wear a mask to vote in Texas?
As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston. The question: Do you have to wear a mask to vote? Gregg Abbotts statewide face-covering mandate excludes Texas voters from having to wear a mask when at the polls. Early July, Abbott said he wouldnt want to deny somebody the ability to go vote simply because they dont have a mask, according to a report by The Texas Tribune. Still not registered to vote?
Texas hospitalizations below 7,000 for first time in weeks
AUSTIN, Texas Texas reported fewer than 7,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time in six weeks Thursday, but that encouraging sign was clouded by questions over testing as schools reopen and college football teams push ahead with playing this fall. Demand has curtailed to the point that in Austin and Dallas, health officials have expanded eligibility for testing, including those who are asymptomatic. Were not having enough people step forward to be tested as we did before.Numbers from Texas health officials this week, however, offered a hazy picture of how much testing has fallen. On Wednesday, the seven-day infection rate average in Texas hit a record 24%, suggesting that roughly one in every four coronavirus tests in Texas was coming back positive. Falling testing demand is also a factor, said Lara Anton, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas Legislative Black Caucus unveils the George Floyd Act to ban chokeholds and limit police use of force
The legislation, spearheaded by members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, is named after Floyd, a Black man killed in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes until and after he lost consciousness. Abbott has previously said he is committed to working with Floyds family on legislation, and has even floated the possibility of a George Floyd Act at the Legislature. The caucus George Floyd Act would limit the use of force by officers, requiring them to attempt to de-escalate the situation and banning lethal force if another lesser level of force could have worked, said state Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston. Rodney Floyd, the youngest brother of George Floyd, applauded lawmakers Thursday for the proposal, thanking Thompson during the news conference and saying the legislation has so many great things [that are] way overdue way overdue.Jolie McCullough contributed reporting.
Restaurants, bars and breweries scramble to reinvent themselves to get around Gov. Greg Abbott's bar shutdown
Hundreds of Texas bars and restaurants are scrambling to change how they operate, maneuvering through loopholes that will allow them to reopen after being closed by Gov. It allows bars and restaurants to use projected sales numbers instead of requiring past sales to determine if alcohol sales exceed food sales. The Texas restaurant industry is already struggling, with Knight projecting that up to 30% of restaurants in the state could go out of business. Kaufman estimates that the entire process, from hiring new chefs to deal with increased food sales to applying for the permits cost him around $10,000. However, the TABC later released a clarification saying that businesses with more than 51% alcohol sales were not eligible.
Ask 2: Was the $285 grocery benefit for school-aged children also extended?
As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston. Question: Are SNAP benefits also being extended to August for P-EBT cardholders? Answer: No, the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) remains a one-time benefit of $285 for families with school-aged children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals because of closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the deadline to apply for P-EBT has been extended to Aug. 21, according to a press release from the Office of the Texas Governor. Families who receive SNAP benefits do not need to apply as they will automatically receive the funds on their current Lone Star Card.
5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, August 3
Here are things you need to know for Monday, August 3:1. Debate begins for who's first in line for COVID-19 vaccineWho gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? Traditionally, first in line for a scarce vaccine are health workers and the people most vulnerable to the targeted infection. Australian-based movie theater company Beyond Cinema will be offering a boat-in movie theater where visitors can watch movies while floating on a boat in a lake, taking social distancing to the next level. 3 things to shareWORD OF THE DAYPaludal [puh-lood-l, pal-yuh-dl] (adjective) 1. of or relating to marshes; 2. produced by marshes, as miasma or disease.
Gov. Abbott praises Hurricane Hanna response during visit to Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbot visited Corpus Christi on Tuesday to survey the damage left by Hurricane Hanna, which made landfall over the weekend. During his visit, Abbot met with local officials and gave a news conference addressing the state’s response to the storm. “Just because a hurricane has swept through here, does not mean that it has swept out COVID-19,” Abbott said. “If you let down your guard, it will lead to an increase of COVID-19,” Abbott said.
Hidalgo County stores bodies in trucks as Texas sets one-day record for COVID-19 deaths
HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas Texas set a one-day record for deaths and hospitalizations Wednesday afternoon, and one Texas county is enforcing a stay-home order after bodies are being stored in refrigerated trucks, Reuters reported. The state saw 197 deaths and 10,893 hospitalizations Wednesday, becoming one of the hardest states hit by COVID-19. Hidalgo County, located in south Texas, has seen a sharp rise in cases in the last week, according to Reuters. He told Reuters that crematoriums have a wait list of two weeks, and with five refrigerated trucks in the county, they have a capacity of 50 bodies each. Texas, along with California and Florida remain the top three states where coronavirus cases are rising, Reuters reported.
Hidalgo County judge tries slowing coronavirus, but Gov. Greg Abbott has limited his options
McAllen sits in Hidalgo County, whose top official issued an emergency order Monday in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneAs the Rio Grande Valley grapples with an onslaught of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez is pushing hard for residents to stay at home. In the new Hidalgo County order, only a second violation to the statewide mask order can be punished by a $250, in accordance with the existing state rules. In Hidalgo County on Monday, 524 people tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infections there to 12,787, according to data released by the county. U.S. Navy teams were deployed Sunday to the Rio Grande Valley, a region that includes Hidalgo County.
Distilleries, wineries shuttered by Gov. Greg Abbott's bar shutdown say they should be exempted
Distilleries, wineries and even some restaurants with high alcohol sales say they are unfairly being caught in the crossfire of the statewide bar shutdown. Abbotts order required any business that gets 51% or more of its revenue from alcohol sales to close. RestaurantsThe bar shutdown has also closed many restaurants that have high alcohol sales, industry experts said. Because its revenue generated from alcohol sales outpaces food sales, the ice house was also forced to close down. She said she doesnt think the bar shutdown was intended to target a business like hers.
We opened too quickly, too soon: Mayor Turner proposes a shutdown as citys case count rises
HOUSTON Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Saturday proposed a shutdown, arguing it was necessary as COVID-19 cases have climbed steadily in recent weeks. We have to acknowledge the fact that we opened too quickly, too soon, said Turner. Texas set a record on Saturday, reporting 10,351 new cases, the Associated Press reported. The total is second only to the record 105 reported Thursday and brought the states overall death toll to 3,112. You dont send kids back to school when theres a raging fire and the fires still burning in August.
Ask 2: Are protesters exempt from Gov. Abbotts statewide mask order?
As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston. Greg Abbotts statewide mask order issued Thursday? Abbott signed an executive order Thursday that will require all Texans to wear a mask in public and in businesses beginning noon on Friday, July 3. See what penalties Abbotts order allows for here. Do you have a question about Houston, Texas, coronavirus or the new mask order?
Analysis: Governing in reaction mode, and always a beat or two behind
A line of nearly 100 cars formed at a COVID-19 testing site Friday at Barbara Jordan Elementary School in Austin. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneEditor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. Greg Abbotts key measures of how things are going: How many beds are still available for treating COVID-19 patients? And Abbott, who blocked local governments from acting on their concerns about the coronavirus, waited until case numbers, infection rates and hospitalizations jumped. Dan Patrick was whistling through the graveyard, saying on talk TV on Thursday that the Texas numbers are rising, but not alarming.