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Jul 14

July 14, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #84

Posted on July 14, 2020 at 4:55 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates

 

Did the governor take any virus-related action this week?

 

Yes. He issued the following press release yesterday (July 13):

 

“Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the U.S. Department of Defense has activated additional U.S. Army Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) to assist the state's efforts to combat COVID-19. At the Governor's request and as part of a whole-of-nation approach, one UAMTF arrived in San Antonio on July 6th, an additional task force arrived in Texas to support the Houston region today, and four UAMTFs, along with a U.S. Navy Acute Care Team and four U.S. Navy Rapid Rural Response teams, will be deployed to additional locations across Texas as identified by ongoing assessments. These teams consist of medical and support professionals which are being deployed to support medical needs in hospitals throughout the state.

 

‘Our ongoing partnership with the federal government is crucial to meeting the medical needs of Texans as we combat COVID-19 in our communities,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Defense as well as President Trump and Vice President Pence for providing these additional resources and for working alongside our communities to keep Texans safe and mitigate the spread of this virus.’”

 

What’s the latest issue to crop up in relation to the postponed city general elections?

 

State Representative Mayes Middleton filed a request for an attorney general opinion. The request relates to the filing period for candidates for that new November election date. It provides that:

 

“The Governor, through his emergency orders, allowed certain jurisdictions to move elections with a date set for May to the November uniform date. He was silent in his orders, however, on the filing period. The Secretary of State and several jurisdictions claim that the filing deadline remains closed.

 

However, a plain reading and strict construction of the filing period statutes require the filing period to remain open, or re-open and then close in accordance with a November 3, 2020 election day. Implementation of the filing period deadline must be confined to Texas Election Code statutes.

 

Therefore, my questions to you are:

 

First, if an eligible candidate seeks a place on the ballot for a May election moved to November, but has not filed previously, are they afforded an opportunity to do so?

 

Second, can a jurisdiction deny them a place on the ballot if they now file within the statutorily prescribed timeframe, but did not previously do so?

 

I can imagine several candidates would be interested in filing to give voters more choices (especially considering the events that have taken place across this State over the past few months). In fairness to them, and to not give those who previously filed any more of an advantage, I would ask that the response to this request be expedited.”

 

The Secretary of State’s Election Division issued an election advisory related to cities that postponed their elections. The guidance states that “By postponing their election date, the political subdivision is preserving all candidate filings and ballot order actions that have already been taken. The postponement does not have the effect of reopening candidate filings.” League attorneys have no reasons to question that advice.

 

Further Updates

 

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

 

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