Legislative Committee Hearings
Committee hearings have started in the Texas House of Representatives. The House Appropriations Committee did not meet for a second week. However, my second committee, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, held hearings on multiple bills this week and voted out my HB 411 favorably. Next stop will be on the House Floor where it will be voted on by all the state representatives.
My HB 907, which prohibits prior authorization for the medications of individuals with chronic illnesses or autoimmune diseases, was heard in the House Committee on Insurance on March 16th. This specifically will apply health benefit programs that provide benefits for medical, surgical, or prescription drug expenses incurred as a result of a health condition, accident, or sickness. I look forward to working with stakeholders on the bill and passing it out of committee in the coming weeks.
The American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law last week. $1.9 trillion was approved, amounting to about 27 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). This means $1,400 stimulus checks are on the way. This provision ensures individual relief is coming for the Texans who need it the most. Families will see up to an additional $3,600 per child from the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. This is estimated to benefit over 6 million children, and lift 500,000 Texas kids out of poverty. Our state will also receive $16.8 billion for the state government and $10.4 billion for local governments to invest in programs that will end the pandemic and promote economic recovery. The American Rescue Plan allocates over 12 billion dollars nationwide for vaccine procurement and distribution, which will make a large impact in Texas.
State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations
Texas Health and Human Services has created a map tracking the distribution of and locations providing COVID-19 vaccines. Texans can find providers near them in the coming months by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Availability map. A list of vaccine hub providers can be found here. Information about vaccination distribution and availability can also be found here. Information about the vaccine can be found here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates
This week, 28 counties will be participating in the second week of The Save Our Seniors program, not including in Dallas County. The state has allocated over 18,000 vaccine doses for the third week of the initiative, which the state will use in partnership with local officials and service organizations to target Texans who are 65 years and older or homebound. TDEM and TMD will work alongside local jurisdictions to set up a central drive-through vaccine clinic in the community or administer directly to homebound seniors — these decisions will be driven by local officials as they identify vulnerable residents in their communities to participate in this program.
Carrollton Emergency Repair Assistance
Carrollton residents may be eligible for up to $5,000 in assistance with home repairs through the City’s Emergency Home Repair Program, funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant Program. These funds are available to qualifying property owners for damages such as those suffered in the recent winter storms. Repairs through the program must be urgent and pose a threat to the safety of the residents or structure, including burst pipes, electrical issues, and more. More information, including a full list of eligibility requirements, can be found at cityofcarrollton.com/cdbg. To apply for assistance, contact Community Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-466-3060.
COVID-19 Drivers License and Identification Card Waiver Ending
The waiver for expired DL/ID cards officially ends on April 14, 2021. If your DL/ID is expired, renew today. Find out if you’re eligible to renew online at here, or schedule an appointment at your local DL office here.
TWC: Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) and Explore STEM!
The Texas Workforce Commission has announced the kickoff of the Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) and Explore STEM! 2021 programs. These summer initiatives provide career guidance, hands-on learning and work opportunities to students with disabilities aged 14-22. Students participating in Summer Earn and Learn attend work readiness training to prepare them for successful employment. During their work-based learning, students earn a paycheck while acquiring new skills and professional experiences, as well as on-the-job training. Students with disabilities who participate in Explore STEM! day camps are inspired to develop an interest in STEM careers through lectures, hands-on activities, and presentations by visiting STEM professionals that is adapted to a virtual environment. More information about the programs can be found here.
Free Learning Platform for Women Entrepreneurs
Women own or co-own 45% of all businesses in the United States. These businesses represent all types of industries and are owned by all types of women. The majority are small, with great potential for growth in both revenues and job creation. Ascent provides these business owners with free exercises and tools, discussion guides, fireside chats, videos and more to both inspire and assist in business growth. More information can be found at their website here.
Carrollton Trails 2021 5K Run: Registration Open
Registration is now open for the City of Carrollton’s ninth annual Carrollton Trails 5K to be held Saturday, April 24. The event also includes a 1-mile Fun Run/Walk, so bring the whole family. Dogs do not have to be registered to participate. With the public’s health and wellness top of mind, the race will be split into six different timeslots: 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 10:30 a.m. Masks and social distancing will be encouraged throughout the event to ensure participants and spectators remain safe. Items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to participants and spectators. Additionally, food items will be pre-packaged. More information and registration can be found here.