It was great to see so many of you in Galveston for our 2021 Annual Conference last month! We hosted almost 900 attendees and speakers, and to date, we haven’t heard of a single COVID-19 case arising from that gathering. (Knock on wood!) #GoodJobGoodEffortPeople
We are past the halfway point of this third called session and there is still precious little to report in the way of changes that would directly affect your business. But that doesn’t mean legislators aren’t working hard. They are. Picking your voters can be very hard work. And it may take more than one special session—especially regarding congressional maps, which are important, but not as important to legislators as their own districts. Legislators will take care of themselves first, then move on to the partisan battle over who goes to Washington, D.C. Whether that can be completed before the clock runs out on this third special session is anyone’s guess, but the main fireworks are set to go off next Tuesday when the new Texas House map gets debated on the floor of that chamber. Prepare your popcorn flavor of choice.
We aren’t going to get into the nitty-gritty of the redistricting process or outcomes here, but some of you may find yourselves with unfamiliar legislators after the new maps are adopted, so if you have questions about where things stand, feel free to contact Shannon with those inquiries.
The other big lift of this third special session is deciding how to spend $16 billion of federal pandemic largesse. Those funds are separate from the money sent to local cities and counties and will be appropriated to state agencies for various purposes—some associated with the pandemic, others not so much. Initial drafts of those expenditures include money for crime victims’ compensation, crime victim-related grants, visiting judges, and indigent defense, but the final versions are yet to be hashed out.
While we were in Galveston for our Annual Conference, the Texas Supreme Court issued yet another pandemic edict. The court’s Emergency Order No. 43 took effect on October 1, 2021, and will expire on December 1 (unless extended yet again). The order is mostly more of the same ol’ same ol’, but a new wrinkle exists in regard to the extension of deadlines; read this blog post from the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC) for more on that.
Registration is open for TDCAA’s Key Personnel & Victim Assistance Coordinator Seminar to be held in Kerrville on November 10–12, 2021, at the Inn of the Hills Hotel. The TDCAA Key Personnel-Victim Services Board has planned outstanding workshops for Texas prosecutor staff and victim assistance personnel, so if you wish to send any of your office staff to this excellent training, CLICK HERE for hotel and registration information.
Some articles that you might find interesting:
- “Student-loan forgiveness to include more public-sector workers” (Wall Street Journal)
- “Houston is ‘ground zero’ for fake temporary license tags, and a loophole in Texas law is to blame” (Houston Chronicle)
- “Analysis: When Texas legislators admit they don’t know what they’re doing” (Texas Tribune)
- “Police Officers Resist Getting Vaccinated for COVID-19, Now Their No. 1 Killer” (Wall Street Journal)
Quote of the Week
“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security.”
—Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, former justice minister during the Taliban’s previous rule over Afghanistan, on what punishments might be returning following the Taliban’s re-establishment of sharia law in that country.