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Aug 24

August 24, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #108

Posted on August 24, 2020 at 3:42 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


What action has the governor taken with regard to the approaching storms and COVID-19?


All eyes are on tropical storms Laura and Marco as they move towards the Texas Gulf Coast. Marco appears to be weakening, but Laura is expected to get stronger and reach hurricane designation soon. Exact landfall locations remain to be seen, but forecasters predict they are likely to split the Texas/Louisiana border.


In the event that Marco defies forecasters and becomes a hurricane, and Laura follows suit, that would – in fact – be the first time in recorded history that two hurricanes stirred the waters of the Gulf at the same time. According to KSAT News (San Antonio’s ABC affiliate), the following are the only times two tropical cyclones were in the Gulf of Mexico simultaneously:


1. September 5-6, 2002 (18 hour overlap): (1) Tropical Storm Fay (in the northwest Gulf of Mexico); and (2) Tropical Depression Edouard (weakened after crossing Florida from east to west).


2. June 17-18, 1959 (8 hour overlap): (1) Tropical Storm Beulah (made landfall well south of the US-Mexican border); and (2) “Hurricane 3” (was a tropical storm in the Gulf, before crossing the Florida Peninsula and intensifying over the Atlantic).


In preparation, the governor declared a state of disaster for 23 Texas counties. The declaration includes all 22 coastal surge counties identified by the National Weather Service, and it also inlcudes Bexar County (which is included for staging and sheltering).


According to KXAN News (Austin’s NBC affiliate), the governor said that mitigating the spread of COVID-19 throughout any evacuation efforts is a top priority:


“‘As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are fully prepared to respond to the oncoming hurricanes of Marco and Laura,’ Abbott said.


Abbott explained that the Texas Division of Emergency Management has activated the Alamo Regional Command Center and has ordered 100 buses to arrive at the center by Sunday. Additionally, Texas Department of Public Safety, Parks and Wildlife, and Texas Task Force 1 will all be on hand to assist.


TDEM has also activated fuel and hygiene services, based on need during previous hurricanes, like Hurricane Harvey. This is in addition to the activation of resources to shelter at least 5,000 evacuees.


The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has activated 50 ambulances and identified two facilities — one in San Antonio and the other north of Houston — that will be able to care for COVID-19 patients during the storms.


More than 800 personnel from the Texas Military Division, including the National Guard, are being assigned to sheltering teams, disinfecting teams, and mobile testing squads.


The state is also preparing for flooding, especially on I-10. The Texas Department of Transportation is on standby with seven miles of barriers and pumps.”


The President and FEMA today approved the governor’s request for a federal disaster declaration. More information is available on the Texas Hurricane Center website.


Let’s all send good thoughts to our fellow Texans in the unusual path of two storms.


What’s the latest with regard to the President’s executive order extending the federal unemployment benefit subsidy?


According to The Texas Tribune, “Unemployed Texans could begin receiving $300 in extra weekly jobless payments as soon as next week.” That’s according to a Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson, after the state received Federal Emergency Management Agency funding approval on Friday.


“We are anticipating to try to have that ready by next week so when people make their payment request, we can begin adding that on,” said the agency spokesperson. “It is possible there could be some delays, but it should be pretty quick.”


The final subsidy is less than the expired $600 amount provide for in the CARES Act and the $400 originally-proposed by the President.  The State of Texas has chosen to forgo an additional $100 state component, but $300 per week will certainly be welcomed by out-of-work Texans.


The Texas Workforce Commission has provided detailed benefits information for out-of-work Texans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also published a Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions page providing answers to common questions raised by states.


Further Updates


What’s the latest from the Secretary of State’s Elections Division with regard to the November election?


The Elections Division issued Mass Email Advisory (CS0-3295) - Advisories 2020-23 and 2020-24:


“Dear Election Officials


Our office has released the following two advisories that are attached to this email:


-2020-23 – Ballot Corrections

-2020-24 – Election Procedures for Entities who Postponed their Election to November 3, 2020


We have also provided two additional documents related to Advisory 2020-24:


-The first document includes sample language that can be used for some of the letters you may be sending out related to pending ballot requests and/or mailed ballots from elections postponed from May 2020 to November 2020.

-The second document is a special cancellation form that can be used for certain mail ballot voters that have already returned their voted mail ballots for elections that were postponed from May 2020 to November 2020.


When posted these advisories will be located on your Conducting Elections pages.


Thank you all for your hard work.  Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


Christina Worrell Adkins

Legal Director – Elections Division

Office of the Texas Secretary of State

1.800.252.VOTE (8683)


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


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