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Happy New Year ...

The 87th Legislature convenes in one week ...

1. State Preservation Board Establish Guidelines ahead of Capitol Reopening.

The Capitol officially reopens today. The building will be open M-F from 9 am – 6 pm. The public must enter through the north entrance. Testing is encouraged and will be provided at no expense on the North plaza. Public visitor capacity limits will be observed and social distancing will be required. No public tours or sponsored group events will be allowed. For now, masks must be worn at all times.

2. House Administration Committee Sends "COVID-19 Considerations" to Members.

The Considerations contain general protocols that generally align with common guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., regular temperature checks, social distancing, masks, etc.). The considerations also encourage limiting large meetings, regular temperature checks, the use of hand sanitizer, and masking up. Routine testing is also being encourage and tests are being provided to each office. Finally, each member was advised to follow screening protocols for staff and guests, and to require staff to quarantine after known exposure.

3. What to watch this week ...

  • Today is the final day for candidates’ names to be placed on the ballot for the special election for House District 68. The special election to replace Senator-elect Drew Springer was called for January 23 by gubernatorial proclamation.

  • Today, at 10 am, Jim Wright will be sworn in as Railroad Commissioner.

  • On Friday at 1 pm, the Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will conduct a meeting to provide a situation update on COVID-19, including an update on vaccine distribution.

  • In the next 7-10 days, we expect Comptroller Glenn Hegar to release his Biennial Revenue Estimate, the document that guides appropriators on how much money they have available to spend as they set the budget for the 2022-2023 biennium.

4. Dominating the news ...

  • In Washington, DC, Speaker Nancy Pelosi narrowly secured another term as speaker.

  • Most eyes will be on the electoral college count on January 6. Some, but by no means all, Texas Republicans are vowing to object to the results unless a full audit is conducted.

  • Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, much was written about the vaccine distribution process … both here in Texas and nationally. This included concerns that vaccines were not being administered promptly or were not being reported promptly. We expect vaccine distribution and administration to remain an issue as vaccines remain in short, but steady supply.

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