2020

Sen. Nichols Advocates for CRF Spending Flexibility

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

On Sept. 29, Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) submitted a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) requesting that she work with state leaders to review and eliminate restrictive policies governing the use of CARES Act funding for counties with populations less than 500,000.

Unfunded Mandates Survey Deadline Approaching

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

The Nov. 5 due date for the 2020 Unfunded Mandates Survey is fast approaching. Summer seemed to slip by particularly fast this year which may explain why we have only 38 completed surveys as of Oct. 14. That number is far below the 110 counties that participated in the 2018 survey, but there is still time.

Litigation Continues in the Courts Regarding Elections

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

As the Nov. 3 general election approaches, there is no shortage of litigation in federal and state courts over voting. The most recent lawsuit came in response to the Oct. 1 proclamation issued by Gov. Gregg Abbott reducing the number of drop boxes for early voting mail-in-ballots to one location per county and requiring that poll watchers have access to the main early voting location to observe activities.

Important County Updates

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

Effective Oct. 14, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is updating the criteria for a county to be exempt from the face covering requirement of executive order GA-29.

New Faces and Revised Roles Among TAC Legislative Staff

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

After an exhaustive search, TAC Legislative Services Director Noe Barrios recently filled three empty positions.

The New Normal in Texas Courtrooms

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

On Sept. 23, Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) co-hosted an informational session via Zoom with the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s permanent impact on Texas courtrooms.

Texas Supreme Court Offers Assistance to Renters Facing Eviction

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

On Sept. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a moratorium order under Section 361 of the U.S. Public Health Service Act. The order temporarily halts residential evictions for nonpayment of rent by a declared “covered person,” as defined by the order.

Prepping for the Session — Virtually

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

As they say on Broadway, the show must go on! With no clear indication of what the 87th legislative session might look like, county officials and your TAC Legislative Services staff still must be prepared to share the county message with lawmakers.

Congress, COVID-19 and the State Budget

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

After months of negotiations between Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over a new round of COVID-19 stimulus aid, President Donald Trump instructed Republicans to cease negotiations until after Election Day. Earlier talks between the parties yielded an agreement to fund the government through Dec. 11, staving off a shutdown, which would have occurred on Oct. 1.

AG Opinions and Requests

October 13, 2020| Legislative News

TAC has highlighted recent attorney general opinions and requests for opinions of interest to counties.

Elimination of Straight Party Voting

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

In 2017, the 85th Legislature passed House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) eliminating straight party voting, beginning on Sept. 1, 2020.

Legislative Appropriations Request Instructions for the 2022-23 Biennium Released

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) instructions for the 2022-23 biennial budget are available on the Governor's and Legislative Budget Board’s websites. No additional reductions in funding, beyond the 5% reduction plans required by state leaders in May 2020, are required.

Reminder: UFM Survey Due by Nov. 5

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The Unfunded Mandates (UFM) Survey is important to all 254 counties. The ability to show legislators the impact that their decisions continue to have on county finances is critical.

Protective Order Registry Now in Pilot Phase

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

Senate Bill 325, passed during the 86th Legislature and sponsored by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), launched a state Protective Order Registry.

Texas Indigent Defense Commission Presents Improvement Grants to Five Counties

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

On Aug. 27, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC) awarded more than $5 million in grants for fiscal year 2021 to Kerr, Atascosa, Galveston, McLennan and Nueces counties.

TxDOT County Transportation Infrastructure Fund Grant Program Update

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently held a webinar to clarify the process for accessing the County Transportation Infrastructure Fund (CTIF) Grant Program funds.

Justice Court Civil Jurisdiction Increases to $20,000

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

Effective September 1, 2020, the civil jurisdiction limit (amount in controversy) for justice courts has increased from $10,000 to $20,000.

Future of the Driver License Program Is Pending

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR) has completed its study and released its findings and recommendations regarding the future of the driver licensing program in Texas. Last session, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 616 by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), requiring the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to contract with a third-party vendor to study the program and the problems that have plagued it for many years.

TAC’s Legislative Programs Go Virtual

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The Texas Association of Counties' (TAC) regional Legislative Exchange events provide an opportunity for county officials to come together and discuss legislative issues of importance to county government with their legislators and the TAC Legislative staff.

Legislative Conference Opens on a Virtual High Note

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in unbelievable ways. A year ago, we couldn’t have imagined that we’d be where we are today. And we certainly all grieve over the cost in lives and livelihoods lost in getting to this point.

AG Opinions and Requests

September 14, 2020| Legislative News

TAC has highlighted recent attorney general opinions and requests for opinions of interest to counties.

Comptroller Announces Revised State Revenue Estimate

July 27, 2020| Legislative News

County officials should prepare for a difficult legislative session as the state grapples with a looming budget crisis. With so many unknowns such as the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, declining sales tax revenue and doubts regarding the future of oil and gas prices, budget writers will have their hands full.

Reminder: TAC Unfunded Mandates Survey Moves Forward

July 27, 2020| Legislative News

As of July 21, 15 counties had completed the 2020 Unfunded Mandates Survey.

JPCA Hosts Successful Virtual Conference

July 27, 2020| Legislative News

To protect the health and safety of attendees, the Justices of the Peace & Constables Association of Texas (JPCA) took its 76th annual conference online last month. The association was one of the first organizations to move to a virtual platform, and the conference proved to be a success.

State Responds to Rising COVID-19 Case Counts

July 27, 2020| Legislative News

Since June, Texas has continued to see an increase in the number of daily coronavirus cases, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The department tracks confirmed case counts by county, and the information is available on the DSHS dashboard.


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