86th LegislatureHealthcareIssuesState HouseState SenateThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Proposed Pay Cut for Officials Who Halt Business, Municipalities Respond to Coronavirus, Capitol Staff Helps Workforce Commission

This week — a proposal that could incentivize officials to avoid shutting down nonessential businesses, local government coronavirus responses, and capitol staff to help workforce commission.
April 10, 2020
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State and local leaders respond with orders, policy proposals, and action steps as the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the news cycle.

Legislator Proposes Officials Who Shut Down Businesses by Order Don’t Get Paid Until Order is Lifted

In a Facebook post, State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) proposed a potential legislative response to many businesses being deemed nonessential. 

“If an elected official causes legitimate and lawful businesses to shut down under some type of declaration or order — that official (state, local) does not get paid until the ban/order is lifted,” said Krause of the idea. “If others have to lose their livelihoods due to decisions from these officials, it’s only right they also do not get paid during that time.”

“Every business is essential to the one who works in that field and makes their living from that business.”

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Responses and Reactions of Local Municipalities to COVID-19

This week, the City of San Antonio furloughed 270 employees after hotel occupancy tax revenue declined. In total, the city has made $80 million worth of cuts.

Port Isabel, a small South Texas town on the Gulf of Mexico, has required its citizens to wear facemasks and prohibited more than two residents from riding in cars together.

In Hutto, a city outside of Austin with just over 25,000 people, 48 city employees were laid off.

Cleburne, the county seat of Johnson County just south of Fort Worth, stipulated that no more than one person may engage in essential activity at a time.

Tarrant County Judge Glenn Whitley issued a strict order mandating that no in-person church services be held, only to backtrack and “encourage” churches to hold remote services after receiving backlash from constituents.

Legislative Staffers to Help Texas Workforce Commission

According to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R), over 200 Texas Senate staffers have volunteered to help the TWC with the overwhelming influx of unemployment claims.

The Texas Workforce Commission and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) hosted a conference call on Thursday in order to prepare and inform Texas House staffers of the opportunity, as well. 

Over 700,000 Texans have filed for unemployment since mid-March — more than the total number of those who filed in all of 2019.

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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Operations Manager and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.