This Week in Texas: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Posted May 6, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Only in Austin…

Austin artist Chris Rogers works to complete his West 6th Street mural honoring healthcare workers.

Governor Greg Abbott:  Texas Hair Salons May Reopen Friday, Gyms May 18

At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Gov. Abbott announced that salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen this Friday, and gyms may do so May 18th. To continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the businesses will have to follow certain rules, including stylists working with only one customer at a time, and waiting customers maintaining 6 feet of separation or waiting outside. Masks are recommended for stylists and customers, but not required.  Gyms must operate at a maximum of 25% of capacity, showers and locker rooms will be closed, clients should wear gloves and equipment must be disinfected after every use.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced three options for graduation ceremonies: outdoor ceremonies with social distancing between family groups, hybrid ceremonies with one student at a time photographed receiving their diploma and vehicle ceremonies for drive-by graduations.  Additionally, the governor said the state is still working to determine how to reopen bars safely and did not offer a timetable for that to happen.

Texas Sales Tax Revenues Fall by 9.3% in April

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced on Friday that Texas collected $2.58 billion in state sales tax revenue in April, roughly a 9% drop from the $2.8 billion collected in April 2019 — the steepest decline since January 2010. The numbers illustrate the dramatic impact that state and local budgets have felt from the widespread social distancing measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The comptroller warned that the state’s largest single source of funding will continue to “show steeper declines” in coming months compared with a year ago as the economy continues what will likely be a slow crawl out of a weekslong virtual shutdown due to the pandemic.

Representative Eddie Rodriguez First to File for Senate District 14

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) was first to file the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot in the July 14th special election to represent Sen. District 14. The winner will succeed Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) who resigned April 30th to become the first dean of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. Rep. Rodriguez has represented House District 51, covering much of southeast Travis County, since 2003.

In a live interview with the Texas Tribune at noon on May 14th, Rep. Rodriguez will discuss his campaign and what an election taking place during a pandemic might look like. It is anticipated that others will file for the seat before the filing period for this election ends May 13th.

Texas Flair for Your Zooming Background Pleasure

By this point in quarantine, you’re probably ready for a change in scenery, amiright?! While we can’t bust you out, we can help with some Texas backgrounds for your next Zoom meeting.

Texas Humor offers some fun backgrounds — if you have a secret desire to play weather forecaster (see above), traffic reporter or be on the most wanted list, you’re all set. There are Austin (here and here) and San Antonio (here) options, as well as collegiate options (Texas A&M, UT Austin, Texas State, SMU, Texas Tech, TCU and Rice to name a few), and photos of iconic Texas scenery, Galveston beaches and even the Dallas Arboretum (scroll to the 2nd half of the webpage). Change your “location” and never worry about being judged by your décor again!