This Week in Texas: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Posted March 11, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt File for Texas Senate

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) and Judge Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) have filed to run in the special election for Senate District 14, the seat being vacated by Senator Kirk Watson at the end of April.  Sen. Watson, who has represented the district since 2007, recently announced his resignation in order to become the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.  A date for the special election has not been set.

Rep. Rodriguez has served in the Texas House since 2003, and was the first candidate to formally announce.  Judge Eckhardt, the first female county judge in Travis County, has served in that role since 2015.  Other announcements are expected in the near future.  More to come…

Coronavirus Hearing for the Texas House Committee on Public Health

On Tuesday, the House Public Health Committee met at the Texas Capitol to hear invited testimony on the state’s preparedness on the coronavirus.  Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and legislators heard from Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, and Nim Kidd, Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, as well as officials representing health plans, emergency rooms and the city of San Antonio.

While the House Public Health Committee went forward with its meeting, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick directed Senate committees to postpone all currently scheduled hearings for a few weeks amid coronavirus concerns.

Proposed Interstate 35 Expansion Fully Funded

The Texas Transportation Commission recently approved a plan to pump nearly $8 billion into the redevelopment of Interstate 35 through the heart of downtown Austin, funding a once-in-a-generation reworking of the congested traffic artery running through the heart of the city.  The end result could include an underground interstate with park space and bike and pedestrian pathways over the highway to more coherently connect East Austin with the rest of the city.  Officials are aiming for a 2025 construction start date and a possibly completed project within five years.

Only in Austin…

Paging Dr. Adorable!  Advice from our resident therapy doggo Tucker Hutchison in light of the coronavirus outbreak:  wash your hands and paws thoroughly and we’ll all get through this together.  Take care, everyone.