This Week in Texas: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Posted March 25, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Only in Austin…

Texas Counties Issuing Stay-at-Home Orders

Many of Texas’ biggest urban cities and counties have ordered residents to stay indoors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and the list of counties issuing such order continues to grow.  By Thursday morning, more than 16.6 million Texans will be under orders to stay at home except for essential errands and personal exercise, or 58% of the state’s population.

Currently, shelter-in-place orders are in place, or will be soon, for the following areas:  Dallas County (Dallas), Harris County (Houston), Bexar County (San Antonio), Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Travis County (Austin), McLennan (Waco), Williamson County, El Paso County, Hidalgo County, Collin County, Lubbock County, Denton County, Bell County and Hunt County.

Texas’ May Primary Runoff Election Delayed Due to Coronavirus

The May 26th primary election runoffs in Texas will be delayed until July in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus under an order signed by Governor Greg Abbott.  The elections are now scheduled for July 14th with early voting beginning July 6th.  Dozens of runoffs are ongoing for party nominations to congressional and local offices, the most prominent being the race between former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar and state Senator Royce West of Dallas for the Democratic nomination to face Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn in the fall.

State Budget Could Take Massive Hit After Coronavirus Crisis

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar briefed legislators on the state’s economy and budget Sunday, saying that while it was too soon for specific forecasts, both are expected to take potentially massive hits in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  The briefing was one of state lawmakers’ first glimpses of the impact the virus is expected to have on multiple industries, state finances and Texas’ largely oil-fed savings account, known as the Economic Stabilization Fund, or the rainy day fund.  The Comptroller, who referred to the state of the economy as “the current recession,” predicted both the general revenue for the state budget and the savings account balance will be drastically lower — possibly by billions of dollars — when he makes a revised fiscal forecast; that update could happen in July.

Texas Driver’s License Offices Temporarily Closed

All Texas driver’s license offices have been temporarily closed to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus, though those seeking a commercial license can still book an appointment in order to help meet delivery needs across the state.  The closure came not long after the waiver of expiration dates on driver’s licenses and state-issued identification during the state’s coronavirus emergency.

Paws-ing the Coronavirus Newsfeed

If you need a break from 24 hour-a-day coronavirus coverage, here are some distractions in the form of animal webcams.  You can view the Houston Zoo’s giraffe feeding platform and gorilla habitat here and here, the University of Texas’ Tower Falcon cam here, the West Texas Hummingbird cam here, the Dallas World Aquarium’s manatee cam here and the El Paso Zoo’s sea lion and meerkat cams here and here.