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September 19, 2020      3:48 PM

Chairman Drew Springer and his wife are in 14 day quarantine after she tested positive for COVID-19, Springer says

This news comes one day after the revelation that his fellow candidate for SD 30 received a $1 million loan from Empower Texans Chairman Tim Dunn

Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee Chairman Drew Springer will now be essentially sidelined for the rest of the special election for Senate District 30 after his wife tested positive for COVID-19 this past week, Springer told Quorum Report on Saturday.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 18, 2020      1:50 PM

People on the Move

Significant career milestones, appointments, staffer moves, lobby moves, and more

Time to hit the road for campaigns.

See you all soon in DFW, Houston, Senate District 30 and elsewhere. It’s coming down to the wire with one side sharing polls, the other boasting of robust field programs, and the lobby caught in between. Don’t you love it?

Usually I’ve put thousands of miles on the truck by this time in the election cycle, checking out races all over Texas. The pandemic has changed attitudes and campaign strategies in various parts of the state. But it would seem there’s still no better way to gauge what’s actually happening than to be on the ground in the districts. Will report back to you.

Meantime, there were significant career milestones for some of you this week. Keep the career news coming to ksbraddock@gmail.com anytime and use POTM in the subject line for faster service. Please and thank you.

Here’s the latest edition of People on the Move.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 18, 2020      11:56 AM

Consumer advocates ask Abbott to appoint an Insurance Commissioner who will put Texans first

Some of their preferred candidates would be Doug Slape, Melissa Hamilton, and Birny Birnbaum

The letter can be read in full by downloading it here.

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September 18, 2020      10:07 AM

Texas Realtors support Chairman Drew Springer for Senate District 30

Springer's "years of valuable experience will enable him to hit the ground running...and we are looking forward to working him in the Texas Senate on behalf of property owners in our state," said TREPAC Chairman Tony Lloyd.

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September 17, 2020      5:08 PM

Updated: Most businesses can soon return to 75% operating capacity, Abbott announces

But bars will remain closed for now because of social distancing concerns, Abbott said during a Texas Capitol news conference with reporters packed into a small room when a 300-seat auditorium is available right downstairs

Editors note: This story has been updated throughout, including new comments from bar and nightclub owners – SB

In his first scheduled update on the state’s coronavirus response in more than a month, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced that because "the number of people recovering from COVID continues to skyrocket,” the vast majority of retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, museums, and libraries across Texas can go back up to 75% operating capacity on Monday. Nursing homes, meantime, will see restrictions relaxed starting now.

Three regions where hospitalizations for COVID-19 remain high are excluded from this lifting of restrictions: The Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria areas.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 17, 2020      5:06 PM

TSAPAC unveils general election endorsements

The full list of endorsements can be downloaded here.

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September 16, 2020      4:18 PM

SB: Texas Senate may grind nearly to a halt if pandemic still rages in January

Nothing is set in stone, but multiple sources confirm Lt. Gov. Patrick convened a call of committee chairs in which worst case scenarios were discussed

Over the last couple weeks, there has been significantly more chatter about how the Texas Senate will handle its business during the pandemic if it still looms large in daily life when the constitutionally mandated start of the legislative session arrives in January. Odds are that will be the case.

The Texas House, naturally, has been much more open about its deliberations on how to operate despite the fact there is no long-term hierarchy after the events of the last year. In August, House Administration released the results of a survey of members showing overwhelming support for measures like mandatory masks and temperature checks.

With the Texas Senate, as is longstanding tradition, the code is harder to crack.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 15, 2020      5:00 PM

Early voting at a trickle in special election to succeed Sen. Pat Fallon

Tiny numbers of voters heading to the polls in the expansive district as Shelley Luther goes negative on TV against Chairman Springer

Early voting is underway for the special election to replace Sen. Pat Fallon of Prosper but you would be forgiven for not noticing given the low turnout.

In the six-way race for Senate District 30 are five Republicans and one Democrat. Running on the Republican side are Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Chairman Drew Springer of Muenster, Denton Mayor Chris Watts, software engineer Andy Hopper, business owner Craig Carter, who ran in the 2018 primary, and activist and hair salon owner Shelley Luther. The only Democrat is International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 20 Secretary Jacob Minter.

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By James Russell

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September 15, 2020      4:58 PM

TSTA files first teacher grievance on enforcement of COVID-19 policies

The complaint was made against the Killeen ISD: “Our members do not feel safe…Our members are being unfairly penalized because the school district has failed to prepare accordingly for the virtual learning of all its students during the 2020-2021 school year.”

The Texas State Teachers Association has filed the first of what is likely to be many grievances against school districts in Texas accused of practicing unsafe COVID-19 policies.

The grievance against the Killeen Independent School District was filed under the section of policy related to personnel management. This is the section of code, which almost all school districts carry on their books, that allows employees to complain about work conditions, sexual harassment and lodge whistleblower complaints.

The Killeen Educators Association alleges the school district has forced teachers and paraprofessionals to work in an unsafe environment, touting procedures to protect employees but then failing to deliver on those promises.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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September 15, 2020      4:40 PM

Texas Supreme Court rules Green Party candidates must be added back to ballot for US Senate, Railroad Commission, and CD 21

An appeals court had previously sided with Democrats who argued the Greens should be excluded for lack of paying filing fees

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September 14, 2020      5:20 PM

SB: General election campaigns ramp up with Texas House GOP embracing traditional block walking, Democrats going a different direction

Which side has more downside risk? Republicans who could offend voters by showing up in person during a pandemic or Democrats who may minimize voter contact by avoiding door knocking?

Across the state, there’s more discussion now among political professionals about whether candidates and their teams should be doing the one thing that has forever been a given for any successful bid for the Texas House: Block walking. In these local races – more akin to running for city council than to running for president – the old axiom is “if you’re walkin,’ then we’re talkin.’” In short, it has been easy to spot a losing campaign: It’s the one you can’t find on the streets.

The pandemic changes the calculus.

Just this weekend, Texas House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Jeff Leach, R-Allen, was on social media defending his decision to embrace a field program including talking to voters at their doors. When accused of taking the coronavirus’ dangers too lightly, Chair Leach said, “We are taking all safety precautions and the vast majority of folks are gladly and eagerly opening their doors!” Leach also said it is possible to respect science and freedom simultaneously.

Striking that balance has become difficult.

After conversations with consultants, candidates, volunteers, and others familiar with how campaigns are operating one month from early voting, a fairly straightforward picture emerges.

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By Scott Braddock

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September 14, 2020      9:38 AM

Video: Running for Stickland House seat, Jeff Whitfield is up on TV

The Democrat's ad focuses on how he hopes Texas will emerge from the pandemic

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September 14, 2020      7:48 AM

Texas Capitol veterans Jackie Uresti, Jerry Philips join Biden Texas team along with about a dozen others

Early Monday morning, Democratic nominee for President Joe Biden’s campaign announced about a dozen new additions to their Texas team, “including alumni of the Obama-Biden Administration, the Texas State Legislature, and the Texas Congressional Delegation.”

The full list is here, per the campaign:

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By Scott Braddock

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