April 6, 2020      11:35 AM

Braddock on Radio: Mixed messages from Gov. Abbott on COVID-19

Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty discuss Abbott's approach to the coronavirus response and his ongoing fights with local leaders

April 5, 2020      5:20 PM

Former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle passed away

Earle was 78

April 3, 2020      2:30 PM

People on the Move

Staffer moves, lobby changes, and more

Things are slowing to a crawl on multiple fronts as it becomes clearer – as if it wasn’t already – that this pandemic is the new reality for the foreseeable future.

Easter? Ha.

I’ve missed seeing all of you out and about in Austin and several speaking engagements have been cancelled or postponed around Texas. Visiting with all of you in every part of our Great State is the best part of this gig and to be unable to do so in person is disappointing but of course necessary. Keep inviting me to your Zoom happy hours and such. At some point, I’ll actually click on one of the links.

Meantime, you can check out the latest edition of the Texas Take Podcast here. Later this evening, Stephanie Chiarello somehow tricked me into being one of the guests on the Over the Ledge podcast. That’ll be streamed here at about 7pm.

Enough about me. People on the Move is about you and your career news. Send it along anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com and kindly use POTM in the subject line. Many thanks. Here’s the latest edition:

By Scott Braddock

April 3, 2020      2:29 PM

Texas prisons adjust to accommodate COVID-19 challenge

Employees working in Texas prisons are the weakest link right now in the spread of COVID-19, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier said in a Facebook livestream this afternoon to discuss the spread of the current pandemic.

Collier, in a question-and-answer session with Communications Director Jeremy Desel, outlined the procedures the state’s prison system has undertaken to keep the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 under control. As of today, 3 offenders in the system and 16 employees or contractors have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’re the biggest risk factor,” Collier said of employees. “Obviously, we’ve got to take care of ourselves inside, but when we’re going home, we need to do what the governor has told us to do, which is go home, shelter in place, and do the essentials. That’s essentially it right now.”

By Kimberly Reeves and Scott Braddock

April 2, 2020      7:21 PM

Updated: Texas construction industry adjusts to new reality during COVID-19 pandemic

Various rules now in place for the industry as a patchwork of local orders have been issued; one major reason to keep the industry going is in case the Corps of Engineers needs a ready workforce for quick projects

Editor’s note: After this article was first published, the City of Austin went ahead and issued a new guidance to construction companies operating in the city. The story is updated to reflect that – SB

Although construction continues in Texas during the global pandemic, companies in the industry now find they must navigate a multitude of county and city orders as well as comply with new federal workplace requirements. But, since construction is site specific, companies are generally able to easily understand whether their jobs may proceed.

There are exceptions, however. Let’s dig into this.

By Jon Fisher

April 2, 2020      11:10 AM

Comptroller extends franchise tax deadline to July 15

The latest on how the agency is adapting, along with resources for business owners, is here on the Comptroller’s emergency page.

April 2, 2020      9:54 AM

ICYMI: Kathleen Wall ad in CD22 takes aim at China

April 1, 2020      4:38 PM

Video: Abbott seeks to frame latest executive order as stay at home order, with exceptions

April 1, 2020      12:02 PM

Texas Workforce Commission received a record 1.7 million calls in one day

Previous record was 60,000. Last Friday, the TWC received more claims than they did in the entire month of February

March 31, 2020      5:09 PM

Gov. Abbott sides with Hotze in fight over Houston area church closures during pandemic

New executive order lists church services as “essential” and Abbott added that his directive overrides local orders if they are in conflict; Hotze and Woodfill have argued in court for church services to continue despite Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order on staying at home

Flanked by Dr. Steve Hotze’s former business partner Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced an executive order that says church services throughout Texas should continue during the coronavirus pandemic. Just yesterday, Hotze and his attorney Jared Woodfill, a former Harris County GOP Chairman, asked the Texas Supreme Court to strike down Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order shutting down church services in Houston.

Hidalgo’s order also did not define gun shops as essential businesses.

Meantime, Abbott’s order got mixed reviews from Texas House Democrats who didn’t agree with the part about church services but added the directive “essentially creates a floor for a statewide stay-at-home policy for all Texas counties, specifically for ones that had none in place prior to today.”

Gov. Abbott was somewhat vague about churches in his comments during his afternoon news conference, but here’s the language from his executive order:

By Scott Braddock

March 31, 2020      5:07 PM

Texas schools will remain closed at least until Monday, May 4

March 31, 2020      1:20 PM

Statewide business groups and organized labor clash over ruling on Dallas paid sick leave ordinance

Labor says it’s “truly shameful” while business groups argue “it is simply not within any individual city’s jurisdiction to mandate employment ordinances”

The Texas AFL-CIO and statewide Austin business groups today are reacting very differently to a Federal District Court Ruling that blocks Dallas’ paid sick leave ordinance, at least for now.

Yesterday, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Sherman granted an injunction against the ordinance. The plaintiff employers that prevailed included several small businesses in Collin County that also have employees in the City of Dallas.

By Jon Fisher

March 30, 2020      3:50 PM

Judge Lee Yeakel blocks Texas from temporarily closing abortion clinics as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Yeakel will hold a hearing via phone whether to grant a preliminary injunction on April 13

March 30, 2020      3:18 PM

Hotze, pastors ask Texas Supreme Court to rule Harris County stay-at-home order unconstitutional

Houston Chronicle reporter Jasper Scherer with the story:

A hardline conservative power broker and three Harris County pastors filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court Monday arguing that Judge Lina Hidalgo’s stay-at-home order violates the Constitution by ordering the closure of churches and failing to define gun shops as an “essential” business. The emergency petition for a writ of mandamus, filed by anti-LGBTQ Republican activist Steven Hotze and pastors Juan Bustamante, George Garcia and David Valdez, contends that Hidalgo’s order undercuts the First Amendment by limiting religious and worship services to video or teleconference calls. Pastors also may minister to congregants individually.