P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
There are two monumental achievements we are celebrating this week: Phase II of Texas' economic reopening and the graduation of our high school seniors.
According to Executive Order, GA-23, Texas is opening more doors for business and getting more Texans back on the job. Childcare services such as YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs can resume. Restaurants can expand to 50% capacity for indoor seating. And, as a Senator who represents Grapevine, shining star of the Texas wine industry, I am pleased to report that tasting rooms can begin reopening at 25% capacity - as can craft breweries. The order is effective through June 3rd, and you can find more details at gov.texas.gov.
Every state in the nation has now lifted at least some of their COVID-related restrictions, and Texas continues to lead the way. Additional openings have been announced for May 31st. Little league, sports camps and other youth recreation activities are set to resume at the end of the month.
As Texas re-opens, the state continues taking precautions to protect public health and safety. In the first half of May, Texas has doubled the number of tests given in March and April combined. Texas is now testing 25,000 a day at over 600 testing sites. The state has initiated an effort to test every resident and worker in Texas nursing homes. Overall, there is a downward trend in the percentage of tests that come back positive, meaning the vast majority of people who are being tested do not have COVID-19.
Budgets have been affected by this pandemic on every level, from individuals, to families, to countless businesses. The state budget is no exception. Texas officials have sent a letter to state agencies, requesting a 5% reduction of spending in the current biennial budget. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I support this request. Like every business and household budget, the state must live within our means and adhere to the principles of fiscal restraint that put Texas in a much stronger position than other states to meet the challenges ahead.
I continue to marvel at the creativity of parents and teachers who are pulling out all the stops to ensure that seniors have a memorable graduation. So far senior classes from seven Denton County school districts have walked the stage at Texas Motor Speedway with more to follow. As a former NASCAR Mom of the Year whose district includes the Speedway, I am so grateful to TMS - and I appreciate everyone who has worked very hard with the Texas Education Agency and NASCAR officials to make this happen.
This time is certainly not what they expected, but I know our graduating seniors are up to the challenge and that we will need their grit more than ever as we continue rebuilding our state's economy.
I wish our seniors the very best in their future endeavors. Please join me in celebrating our seniors by sending them an enthusiastic "Congratulations!"
Senator Jane Nelson