This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Posted June 17, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Only in Austin…

Austin’s Paramount Theatre posted a reminder about the upcoming primary runoff election in Texas, which was rescheduled to July 14th after the coronavirus pandemic preempted the original May date. Early voting begins June 29th.

Governor Greg Abbott Addresses Texans as Coronavirus Cases Rise

Gov. Greg Abbott reassured Texans on Tuesday that hospital beds remain plentiful and treatment options have improved, even as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations increase in Texas. The governor noted that fewer Texans have tested positive than residents of other large states, and that Texas has the second lowest death rate of the 25 most affected states.

In explaining the rising trend, Gov. Abbott mentioned temporary spikes in positive tests in some isolated areas. He also suggested some young people are not practicing appropriate social distancing at “bar-type settings.” He pointed to a recent warning by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which said bars and restaurants could lose their licenses for 30 days if they do not follow state guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Bars are currently allowed to operate at 50% capacity and restaurants at 75% capacity.

The governor said that Texans know the strategies to coexist with COVID-19 for a few more months while vaccines and treatments are developed: masks, hand sanitizer and safe social distancing.

Texas A&M System Creates $100 Million Scholarship Fund to Address Diversity

During a special called meeting on Monday, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents unanimously approved the creation of a $100 million scholarship fund aimed at making the system’s 11 universities more inclusive and reflective of Texas’ demographics, as well as bolster aid meant for economically disadvantaged students, or students who are the first generation of their families to attend college. The program will disburse $10 million annually over 10 years, and has been in the works for some time.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp emphasized the need for the student population to reflect that of the state. According to 2019 data, white students currently comprise more than half of the student population at the College Station campus, while black students make up less than 4%. Hispanic and Asian students make up 21% and 8% of the student population, respectively. At the same time, Texas’ population is 41% white, 39% Hispanic and 12% black, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Pandemic Plunders Texas Lottery

The Texas Lottery Commission estimates it has lost $85 million in ticket sales during the coronavirus pandemic, which translates into a $23 million loss to the Texas Permanent School Fund.

You can’t win if you don’t play – support our kiddos and veterans and go buy a ticket!