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Week of Feb. 17-23, 2020

Governor charges agency heads with developing workforce plan

AUSTIN — Requirements in House Bill 3, the sweeping school finance law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2019, require the state to plan for long-term workforce development.

On Feb. 13, Gov. Greg Abbott cited HB 3 in assigning the commissioners of three state agencies to identify strategies to meet the state’s future workforce needs through his 2016 Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative. He instructed them to deliver a report to him by Sept. 1.

Mail volume to fall 18%, deliveries up 5%

The Postal Service’s updated five-year plan predicts mail volume will fall 18% during that period, while delivery points will grow by 5%, or 6.9 million. That, in turn, means revenue per delivery point (household or business) will decline 4%.
Those two projections, combined with ad dollars shifting to electronic channels, means trouble ahead for the Postal Service and its customers, including community newspapers. While privatization is not mentioned, that doesn’t mean forces in other parts of the government won’t be pushing in that direction.

Week of Jan. 27 - Feb. 2, 2020

Governor applauds White House approval of women’s health funding

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott said Jan. 22 that a Trump administration decision reestablishes the federal partnership for the Women's Health Program in Texas.

Abbott issued a statement concerning the approval of the 1115 Waiver for Healthy Texas Women:

Week of Jan. 20-26, 2020

Governor requests presidential disaster declaration

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 13 asked for a presidential disaster declaration for three counties that sustained widespread damage attributed to severe thunderstorms, straight-line winds, hail and tornadoes.

The stormy weather on Oct. 20-21 hit Cameron, Dallas and Erath counties. Abbott's request includes public assistance and hazard mitigation.

Candidate filings belong to public as soon as submitted

Q: The filing deadline for candidates in the March 3, 2020 primary election was Dec. 9. When were getting close to the deadline I was working on an article that included information on all candidates who filed to run.
I received word from a credible person that a sheriff’s office employee was going to file to run against the incumbent sheriff, but the candidate wanted to talk to me before I identified him in my news story, which could have been a delay tactic. Candidate filings are public records, correct?

Bread and the newspaper

When I assumed the role of Texas Press Association president nearly 18 months ago, I wondered what I could possibly bring to the table. Age and wisdom? Maybe. Age and experience? I suppose. Age? Got it.
More than anything, though, I was determined to honor the rich legacy of my predecessors.
A day or two later it dawned on me: not only would I have 18 columns to write, but I would be writing them for a fairly exclusive audience of my fellow writers and journalists.

Week of Jan. 13-19, 2020

Governor’s domestic terrorism task force meets at Capitol

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott last week convened the quarterly meeting of his Domestic Terrorism Task Force at the state Capitol. 

"We must work together to develop meaningful solutions to fully eradicate domestic terrorism in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said in explaining the purpose of the meeting. "Just as domestic terrorism takes many forms, this task force is committed to developing comprehensive and evolving defense strategies to ensure a safe and secure future for every Texan."