The Mignon Memo

This Week in Austin: October 28, 2020

Posted October 27, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

This Week in Austin, Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

The Race is on for Speaker of the Texas House

Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson, who represents parts of Harris County, was the first to file her candidacy for Speaker last week on Friday, October 23rd. “Ms. T.”, as she is known around the Texas Capitol, joined the Texas House in 1973 and is the second most senior member of the Texas House.

Chairman Trey Martinez-Fischer from San Antonio was the second to file, on Monday, October 26th.

Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival begins this Saturday, October 31st, and will last through November 15th.

View the 2020 Texas Book Festival schedule HERE.

Houston, We Have a Vote!

An astronaut has cast her ballot for the November 3rd election all the way from outer space! Kate Rubins, an astronaut at the International Space Station, cast her absentee ballot in Harris County from the space station.

“We consider it an honor to vote from space so we fill out a form and we vote via absentee ballot and I plan to do that in November,” she said. “I think it’s really important for everybody to vote, and if we can do it from space, then I think folks can do it from the ground, too.”

Legislation was passed in Texas in 1997 allowing astronauts to cast their votes from space.

Michael Bloomberg Donates to Texas Railroad Commissioner Candidate

Michael Bloomberg is sending big money to Texas in the last stretch before the November 3rd election, including a $2.6 million contribution to the Texas Democrat running for Railroad Commissioner, Chrysta Castaneda.

Last Week to Vote Early

This week is the last week for early voting with Election Day just around the corner. This Friday, October 30th, is the final day for early voting in Texas. Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 3rd, however, it could take some time to finalize the election’s results.

Trick or Treat!

The Witch is IN! Go ahead and enjoy your Halloween weekend and we will be here at the office ready to update you on EVERYTHING election-related next week!

The year 2020 has sure played a trick on us—now where do we get our treats?! The holiday season may be a little different this year but we hope you have a fun and safe Halloween, whatever you do!

This Week in Austin: October 21, 2020

Posted October 21, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Who Will Be the Next Speaker of the Texas House?

State Representative Four Price has announced that he will not be running for Speaker of the Texas House.

Texas is Breaking Early Voting Records

Texas is leading the country in early voting numbers with over 4 million votes counted as of Sunday.

Texas cities, including Austin, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, and Amarillo, are breaking early voting records. Travis County reported that over 70,000 early voting ballots were cast in the first two days of early voting. On the first day of early voting, 128,000 Houston voters cast their ballots. By the second day of voting, 287,000 Houston voters had cast their ballots.

Don’t let the long lines discourage you from voting, here is a link to look up voting wait times in Travis County: https://countyclerk.traviscountytx.gov/elections/wait-time-map.html

Texas Supreme Court Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Rebeca Huddle to the Texas Supreme Court. Huddle will replace Justice Paul Green who retired in August.

Only in Austin…

That’s So Retro!

For a fun and socially distanced outdoor adventure, you can now cruise around Austin Town Lake in style in one of these super-fun, retro-style boats from Retro Boat Rentals ATX!

This Week in Texas: Oct 14, 2020

Posted October 14, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

This Week in Texas: Oct 14, 2020

It’s Officially Voting Season Here in Texas!

Early voting for the November 3rd election started Tuesday, October 13th, and will run through October 30th. To look up your ballot or find your polling place visit www.votetexas.gov.

Only in Austin…

HomeSlice Pizza on South Congress is handing out a free slice of pizza when you present your “I voted” sticker—who doesn’t love free pizza?! After you’ve grabbed your free slice you might want to walk across the street to Jo’s Coffee and snap a photo with your “I voted” sticker…

Austin’s famous “i love you so much” mural at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress has been transformed into a tribute to voting to inspire more voters to cast their ballots this election season. The transformation is temporary and was put together by the League of Women voters.

Visit https://ilovevotingsomuch.org/ to access the League of Women Voters’ free, non-partisan voting guide.

The Latest in Bar-Opening News

Gov Abbott issued an Executive Order last week to open bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials. In hospital regions where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity, County Judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars beginning October 14th, provided they assist in enforcing health protocols.

The Governor’s Executive Order also increases the occupancy levels for all business establishments other than bars to 75%.

District 30 Special Election Date Set

The special election to fill the District 30 seat in the Texas Senate has been set for December 19th, 2020 and early voting will begin on December 9th.

Posted October 7, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

This Week in Austin: October 7, 2020

Voting in Texas – What to Know This Week

Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Gov. Greg Abbott in the past week by the Texas and National Leagues of United Latin American Citizens, the League of Women’s Voters of Texas, and the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans to challenge the Governor’s executive order issued last week to allow only one mail-in ballot drop-off location per county.

Additionally, some GOP leaders and activists have asked the Texas Supreme Court to overturn Gov. Abbott’s order to extend early voting in Texas for the November 3rd election.

For now, early voting is still set to begin on October 13th, and each county is allowed one drop-off location for mail-in ballots, pending a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court.

Texas Attorney General Investigation

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has announced that he will not resign as AG following the recent allegations of bribery and abuse of power.  Seven of Paxton’s top aides have alleged that Paxton is violating federal and state law and are asking for a federal investigation.

Here’s the ACL Fest 2020 (Virtual) Lineup This Weekend!

For years the Austin City Limits Music Festival has taken place rain or shine. However, in lieu of this year’s festival, there will be a free 3-night broadcast, starting this Friday at 7 pm CT exclusively live on YouTube.

NASCAR is Coming to Austin!

The inaugural running of the NASCAR Cup Series will take place on May 23, 2021, at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack venue in Austin. “Everything is bigger in Texas, including our passion for NASCAR, and NASCAR will be even bigger and better in Texas in 2021 with the addition of this race in Austin,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

This Week in Austin: September 30th, 2020

Posted September 30, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Straight-ticket voting – What you need to know

Straight-ticket voting was set to end this year in Texas, but on Friday, a federal judge ordered the state to reinstate the practice. A federal appeals court on Monday put a temporary hold on a lower court’s ruling last week, again casting into uncertainty whether Texas voters will have the option in the Nov. 3rd election.

Senate District 30 Special Election results

Republicans Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed earlier this year after refusing to close her business due to coronavirus restrictions, and Drew Springer, the state representative from Muenster, are advancing to a runoff in the special election to replace state Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, according to unofficial election returns. Each was getting about 32% of the vote late Tuesday in the six-way special election, with all polling locations reporting. The runoff has yet to be scheduled.

Calling all election guide junkies!

Alright, y’all. It’s time to start the countdown (if you haven’t already). We have five weeks until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, and two weeks until Oct. 13th, the start of Texas’ early voting period. If you are anything like us, a crisp new election guide puts a big smile on our faces! We will be adding this Houston Chronicle Voter Guide to our favorites tab. Check it out!

Because sometimes we just need a good laugh…

We hope everyone is taking care of themselves. Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. There, that’s better. Dentists are seeing more cracked teeth, and they say it’s due to pandemic stress. Let’s keep those pearly whites healthy, shall we?

This Week in Austin: September 23rd, 2020

Posted September 23, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Your Texas COVID Update

Restaurants, retail stores and office buildings can now operate at 75% capacity, Governor Abbott announced last Thursday. The Governor also announced that hospitals will be allowed to offer elective procedures again and nursing homes can reopen for visitations under certain standards. Ready to hit the gym? Gyms can now open at 75% capacity as well!

Texas shatters voter registration records

Texas has now surpassed 16.6 million voters, according to the latest numbers announced Tuesday by Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs. Let’s not stop now! We still have two more weeks to add more registered voters! The last day to register to vote is October 5th. Not sure if you are registered? Find out here!

When it rains it pours

We are thinking about our friends in Southeast Texas during these recent storms. The Houston Chronicle has created a Texas Flood Map and Tracker giving you real-time flood updates including road closures and high-water areas. Y’all stay safe out there!

Only in Austin… but now VIRTUAL!

This year’s Texas Book Festival holds some serious star power and talent! A few of this year’s special guests include Matthew McConaughey, David Chang, Kevin Kwan, Sigrid Nunez, Isabel Wilkerson, and more. Get excited for two weeks of virtual fun happening from October 31st – November 15th. Check out the full lineup here!

This Week in Austin: September 16th, 2020

Posted September 16, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

What do we want? BROADBAND! When do we want it? NOW!

On Friday last week, a bipartisan group of 88 state lawmakers asked Governor Abbott to develop a plan to expand broadband access in Texas. COVID-19 has highlighted the urgency of access to broadband across the state and the lawmakers say the need cannot wait until the 2021 legislative session.

Your 2020 November ballot

It’s the final countdown! The November 3rd general election is right around the corner. Are you ready? Early voting in Texas is October 13th-30th. Here are all the candidates who will be on the ballot and how to find your ballot based on where you live.

H-Town update

On Friday, State District Judge R.K. Sandill rejected AG Paxton’s request to halt Harris County’s mail ballot plan. 2.4 million registered voters could be receiving mail ballot applications soon. AG Paxton appealed the decision Friday afternoon. Mail ballots have become the focus of fierce debate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the pink dome

Conversations are well under way about how the 87th Legislative Session will be conducted starting in January 2021 during the current pandemic. We could be seeing temperature checks upon entry to the Capitol, required face masks, and limited cafeteria grub (no more ice cream sundae Thursdays?!).

We are staying as busy as ever here in Austin, ZOOM-ZOOMing away while legislators are hosting receptions and fundraisers virtually. We are ready for anything in 2021!

This Week in Texas: Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Posted September 9, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Will Texas Bars and Restaurants Begin to Further Re-Open Soon?

Gov. Abbott hints at further reopening Texas by stating that since his “last orders in July, COVID numbers have declined—most importantly hospitalizations”. Abbott tweeted last Monday night that he hopes “to provide updates next week about next steps”.

It’s Worth the Money to be an AGGIE!

Money Magazine set out to answer the question of whether or not a college degree is really worth the cost. In their article  “These Are the 25 Best Colleges for Your Money Right Now”  Texas A&M University was ranked #11 out of the top 25 best colleges for your money nationally, also making Texas A&M the top pick in Texas.

The Texas Tribune is Hosting Their Virtual Tribune Festival

Speakers coming up in the next week include Andrew Yang, Gloria Steinem, Glenn Hegar, Jennifer Palmieri, Jay Hartzell, Dan Huberty, Larry Taylor, Giovanni Capriglione, Mary González, and more. With many more speakers that you will not want to miss, featured all month long.

This is a great source to get informed on everything Texas and on the climate of the upcoming 87th Texas Legislature – with handfuls of informed speakers holding discussions every week of September.

Here is the full Tribune Fest Lineup: https://festival.texastribune.org/schedule

This Week in Austin: September 2nd, 2020

Posted September 2, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Rapid-fire Special Election

Six candidates have filed to compete in the Senate District 30 Special Election on September 29th. In addition to Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Shelley Luther, the other Republican candidates include Denton Mayor Chris Watts, Craig Carter, a small business owner who ran for the Republican nomination for Senate District 30 in 2018, and Andy Hopper, a Decatur software engineer who is a member of the Texas State Guard. Jacob Minter, a Collin County electrician and recording secretary, is running as the sole Democrat.

Cheers to that!

You may have noticed that your favorite local watering hole re-opened its doors over the weekend. Here’s why!

Texas sues Harris County

 

Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Harris County on Monday after it refused to drop plans to send applications for mail-in ballots for the November election to more than 2 million registered voters.

Best. News. Ever.

 

We think everyone needs a little good news! We thought we weren’t going to get our Fletcher’s corny dog this year – but September 25-October 18, Big Tex will be opening his doors for the Fair Food Drive-Thru. Tickets go on sale today!

This Week in Austin: August 26, 2020

Posted August 26, 2020 in The Mignon Memo

Texans thought we were done with elections until November – we were wrong. Another special election has been set, this time for Texas Senate District 30

The Tuesday, September 29 special election will determine who will fill Senator Pat Fallon’s recently vacated seat in the Texas Senate. Candidates must file their applications with the Secretary of State by 5 pm this Friday, August 28th. Early voting for the special election begins Monday, September 14th.

Three candidates are expected to run including State Representative Drew Springer of Muenster, Denton Mayor Chris Watts, and Dallas hair salon owner Shelly Luther.

​New Texas Women’s Health Caucus Website Launch

The Texas Women’s Health Caucus recently launched their new caucus website, https://www.txwomenshealth.com/.

State Representative Donna Howard serves as Chairwoman for the Texas Women’s Health Caucus, an official bipartisan caucus of the Texas House of Representatives with 38 members. The TWHC seeks to promote women’s health care and access and to educate legislators on women’s health care issues including the need and cost-saving benefits of these services​.

Only in Austin…

Austin: “We’re not just for weird people anymore”

Read this fun article on moving to Austin.