P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Since my last update, Texas has taken several additional steps to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Abbott has activated the National Guard and issued four executive orders to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. The next two weeks are critical as we work to mitigate the spread of the virus, and I encourage everyone to follow state, local and federal directives to protect yourselves and your fellow Texans.
Testing capabilities have increased significantly, with drive-thru locations opening in North Texas and other parts of the state1. Precautionary measures have been taken to protect seniors, Texans with disabilities, inmates and other vulnerable Texans. The Texas Education Agency has launched a "Meal Finder" app to connect parents to nutritious meals available in communities across Texas.
State agencies are making several accommodations in light of the emergency situation. The STAAR test has been canceled for the 2020-21 school year. The deadline to renew driver licenses and vehicle registrations has been extended for two months from the end of the disaster declaration. State regulatory boards have extended deadlines for professional license renewals.
We are very cognizant of the challenges facing businesses and workers. Trucking regulations have been waived to make it easier for stores to replenish items that we need during this difficult time. In addition to allowing take-out and delivery, restaurants have been given the ability to deliver beer and wine. Disaster loans are available to help give businesses every opportunity to succeed in the challenging days ahead. Unemployment claims are being streamlined to help those who find themselves unemployed during this pandemic.
As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I have received many inquiries about how this disaster will impact our economy and our budget. The answer is: significantly. But our focus right now needs to remain on one goal - protecting our citizens from this immediate and growing public health threat.
I am working every day with that in mind - and I will do my level best to keep you apprised of information you need to know to protect yourself, your family, your business and your loved ones. God bless you all and God bless Texas!
Very truly yours,
Senator Jane Nelson
Chairwoman, Senate Finance Committee