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Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
Senator Jane Nelson: District 12
Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Press Release
October 1, 2021
Contact: Michael Ruggieri
(512) 463-0112

AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed SB 8, which allocates federal funds designated for Texas in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“COVID-19 impacted Texas on many fronts, and this bill takes a holistic approach to address a wide range of needs that emerged during the pandemic,” Senator Nelson said. “It holds businesses harmless for pandemic-related layoffs, reinforces our frontline health care workforce, expands access to mental health care, supports health care for our teachers, and bolsters resources for crime victims. These are strategic, one-time investments that will strengthen our ongoing recovery from the pandemic."

SB 8 appropriates a total of $16.3 billion from ARPA -- $15.8 billion from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and another $500.5 million from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, including:

  • $7.2 billion to replenish the Unemployment Compensation Fund, ensuring that businesses are not faced with an increase in unemployment taxes due to pandemic-related layoffs;
  • $3 billion to deploy hospital surge staffing, purchase therapeutic drugs, and support regional infusion centers;
  • $3.7 billion to cover salaries and benefits for state employees directly working on pandemic response;
  • $500.5 million for broadband expansion, with $75 million of those funds designated for a broadband pole replacement program (out of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund);
  • $500 million for construction projects at institutions of higher education, contingent on the passage of legislation;
  • $300 million for a State Operations Center to aid the state in disaster response;
  • $200 million to bolster cybersecurity;
  • $160 million to shore up funding for organizations serving sexual assault survivors and other crime victims;
  • $286 million to the Teacher Retirement System to cover COVID-related health claims and to ensure no active or retired teacher faces an increase in health care premiums due to the pandemic;
  • $237.8 million to expand access to mental health care by completing construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in Dallas;
  • $113 million to the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium to expand mental health treatment options for young Texans struggling with depression and suicide; and
  • $100 million to support Texas food banks, which continue to serve high numbers of Texans in need.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.