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Aug 05

Texas City Leaders Meet to Determine Legislative Priorities for 87th Texas Legislature

Posted to Press Release by TML Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jennifer Stevens
                    512-236-1001
                     Jennifer@jhlcompany.com


Texas City Leaders Meet to Determine Legislative Priorities for 87th Texas Legislature

The League’s members recommended supporting issues such as local options and pay as you go financing for critical infrastructure projects, bridging the digital divide and increasing rural broadband connectivity, and the importance of community advocacy before the legislature.

Leaders from cities across Texas gathered virtually this week to discuss legislative priorities for the 87th Texas Legislative Session. The Texas Municipal League (TML) Policy Summit met for two full days to discuss priorities for cities which included preserving the tools to meet the needs of Texas taxpayers, bridging the digital divide and increasing rural broadband connectivity, pay as you go financing options for critical infrastructure projects, and the importance of community advocacy before the legislature.

“This is the time of year when all of our members come together and tell us what they want TML to be focused on,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of TML. “Our goal is to help city leaders better serve the diverse communities they represent. The League is looking forward to advocating on behalf of our members and working with the legislature during the session as we continue positioning our great state for success moving forward.”

Robin Mouton, chair of the TML Municipal Policy Summit and councilwoman from Beaumont said, “I was proud to chair this two-day policy conversation with leaders representing Texas cities of all sizes. It is encouraging to see that no matter the size of city, our members, from small communities like Daisetta to large metropolitan areas like Dallas, all have an equal voice in this process. This is an important statewide conversation and each city has an equal vote in creating the agenda that TML will help us advance during the next legislative session.”

“Each of the League’s 1,160 member cities get to vote on TML priorities and it is encouraging to see a unified and pro-recovery focus as we lead into this important session year. Issues such as broadband connectivity, support for critical infrastructure, and lessened reliance on debt issuance will assist in each city’s ability to aid in overall state recovery. With TML’s legislative agenda, it is evident that city leaders are looking forward to helping restart and continue the Texas miracle,” said TML President-Elect Karen Hunt, mayor of Coppell. “Texans elect local leaders to represent them on the issues that impact their daily lives. In addition to the work in our communities, locally elected officials have a responsibility to remain an active part of the state and federal legislative process and must work with experts to advance the issues important to the individual needs of their community."

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The Texas Municipal League is a voluntary, non-profit association of 1,160 member cities founded in 1913 to help city leaders better serve Texans who live in cities.





Mar 02

March 2, 2021 TML Coronavirus Update #174

Posted to TML Coronavirus Update by TML Staff

Urgent Updates

 

Has the governor made any comments about his current orders, and specifically his mask order?

 

Yes. He issued a new executive order (GA-34) that fully opens all business and ends the statewide mask mandate. Today (March 2), the governor held a press conference in Lubbock. Speaking to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, he spoke first about the success of the Texas economy, even in the face of the pandemic.

 

“It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” said the governor. Now is the right time, he said, because we are in a completely different position than last year at this time. We have:

 

-an abundance of personal protective equipment.

-the capability to do well over 100,000 tests per day.

-antibody therapeutic drugs to keep people out of hospitals.

-mastered daily habits to avoid getting COVID-19.

-most importantly, vaccines. More than 5.7 million have been given to Texans. Today, a one day record will be set, giving more than 216,000 vaccines. That’s over one million per week now. 

 

These efforts, he said, should ensure that we keep hospitalizations low in Texas. “Make no mistake, however, COVID-19 has not suddenly disappeared…but state mandates are no longer needed.”

 

His new order will, effective next Wednesday (March 10), rescind most previous orders, including the statewide mask mandate. But, “repealing these don’t change the fact that Texans need to exercise personal vigilance.”

 

He concluded by saying that “some local officials are concerned this could lead to a worsening of COVID-19 in their communities,” but that they needn’t worry. His order will provide that, if hospitalizations rise above 15 percent in a state trauma region, the county judge can impose mitigation measures. But the judge won’t be able to impose any penalties for a violation of those measures. The order makes no mention of mayoral authority.

 

What’s the latest regarding future stimulus legislation?

 

Last Saturday (February 27), the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The 594-page bill includes $350 billion in emergency relief for states and local governments, and funding for housing, education, food and nutrition, unemployment assistance, vaccines, COVID-19 testing, and FEMA assistance. 

 

The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

 

What’s the latest vaccine-related news?

 

The United States Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine – developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson and Johnson company) – for public use.

 

According to USA Today, “about four million doses of the new vaccine should be made available next week, 20 million total during March, and another 80 million by the end of June.”

 

Because the vaccine requires just one dose, it should help protect 100 million people and take effect more rapidly than the two-dose vaccines. It should also be easier to distribute to rural areas and other places without pharmaceutical-grade freezers because it can be stored for longer in a refrigerator.

 

The new vaccine joins two others: one from Pfizer-BioNTech and the other from Moderna, which have been given to nearly 50 million Americans since they were authorized in December.

 

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.