Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Thursday, April 30th (1:15 PM data)
Total Tests Performed – 27,357,774
Confirmed Cases – 2,470,095 (2,500 new cases)
Active Cases – 63,109
Hospitalizations – 2,682 (10,646 available beds, 902 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 49,217 (59 new deaths)
Recovered Cases – 2,741,678
Vaccine Data – Friday, April 30th (7:30 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 18,999,580
People with one dose received – 11,013,458
People fully vaccinated – 7,788,050
Total doses administered – 18,165,085
Inside the Numbers
Positivity rate as of Thursday, April 29th was 5.5%. One month ago, there were 2,400 new cases reported, one week ago there were 2,200 new cases reported, compared to the 2,500 reported yesterday. The 2,682 COVID patients in hospitals now is 180 fewer patients compared to one week ago, and COVID patients make up 4% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 185,197 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of April 28th , 26.3% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
Election Day Throughout the State
Local elections throughout the state are being held today with some receiving state and national attention. In the DFW metroplex, there is an open Congressional seat up for grabs after the death of Congressman Ron Wright (R, Arlington). There are 23 candidates in the race, with Wright’s widow, Susan, and current state Representative Jake Ellzey seen as the front runners. 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats are on the ballot today, in a race that will almost certainly lead to a runoff later this summer.
The cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and San Antonio are also holding elections for their mayors and majority of city council seats. And in Austin, the controversial Proposition B is on the ballot. Prop B reinstates the homeless camping ban, in a measure that has pundits from throughout the state and country watching and waiting on the outcome. Current Austin Mayor Steve Adler eliminated the ban on individuals camping in public areas. But after an outcry due to the number of homeless encampments throught the city – in highly visible areas – the city council decided to put the issue to the voters.
State Releases $11 billion in Federal Funds to Schools
The state has released $11.2 billion in new federal funds to help public schools recover from pandemic related losses. The funds were appropriated through the federal American Rescue Act, recently passed by Congress, and are intended to support schools in learning recovery as part of the transition back into the classroom on a full time basis. Districts obviously welcomed the state to release the money, saying it will help them to better develop their budgets for next year. Funds will be used for a variety of resources, including extra mental health support, and more teachers and staff that will be needed for students that have been learning virtually for the last 14 months.
Law Enforemcent, Gun Legislation Advance
After receiving criticism that he is not moving the permitless carry bill quickly enough, the Lt. Governor indicated the bill will be on the floor next week. HB 1927, that eliminates the requirement for a license to carry a weapon in the state, advanced out of Senate committee this week and will be on the Senate floor next week. On the House side, members there continued to strengthen the laws in the state to favor gun owners by passing the “2ndAmendment Sanctuary” bill, that says law enforcement officials in the state cannot enforce any federal firearms related laws that are more strict than state laws.
The House this week also considered legislation that would penalize any city for reducing or elimating any budget numbers that would reduce funding for law enforcement. The bill was forced back to a committee due to a technicality, but is expected to be back on the floor next week. In addition, the House passed several measures related to reform of police conduct. These measures included harsher discipline for police misconduct, prohibit arrests for a fine-only traffic offense, and require greater corroboration of police officer testimony. These bills now move to the Senate for consideration.
Elections Bills Hit Snag, Then Proceed in House
There are two major bills moving through the process this session, SB 7 and HB 6. SB 7 has passed the Senate, while HB 6 awaits a day on the House floor calendar. Last week, the House Elections Committee passed out SB 7 on a 5-4 party line vote. But not without controversy. The chairman had tried to pass out the bill in the committee’s morning session, much to the dismay of the Democratic members. When the committee reconvened after the House session, the bill passed after a series of amendments offered by Democrats failed along party lines. Both bills – which are substantially different in their purpose – will now be eligible for floor debate in the House next week. With time running short, House leadership will now have to determine which vehicle will move forward.
House Lifts Mask Mandate
Due to the pandemic, at the beginning of session, the House placed a provision in their rules to mandate that members wear mask on the House floor and when in committee hearings. The same requirement applied to members of the public when in the House gallery and when attending committee hearings. On Thursday, the House voted 99-44 to eliminate that requirement. Therefore, masks will no longer be required when attending any House proceedings. Already, when in other publican areas of the Capitol, masks were encouraged but not required. The Texas Senate still requires the wearing of a maks and a negative COVID test to attend the Senate session or committee hearings.
There are 28 days remaining in the regular session. The House will convene at 10AM on Monday and Senate will convene at 2PM on Monday. The House has announced that it will meet in session next Saturday, as time for passage of bills is running short.