AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave this statement following today’s bench ruling by the Travis County District Court to expand mail-in ballot voting in Travis County for upcoming Texas elections:
“I am disappointed that the district court ignored the plain text of the Texas Election Code to allow perfectly healthy voters to take advantage of special protections made available to Texans with actual illness or disabilities. This unlawful expansion of mail-in voting will only serve to undermine the security and integrity of our elections and to facilitate fraud. Mail ballots based on disability are specifically reserved for those who are legitimately ill and cannot vote in-person without needing assistance or jeopardizing their health. Fear of contracting COVID-19 does not amount to a sickness or physical condition as required by state law. My office will continue to defend Texas’s election laws to ensure that our elections are fair and our democratic process is lawfully maintained.”
Federal Judge Lee Rosenthal has rejected a petition for the emergency release of up to as many as 4,000 inmates from the Harris County Jail. This is in line with the Amicus Brief (read more: https://bit.ly/3be7R6q) filed by Senator Bettencourt and Representatives Harless, Paul, Huberty, Swanson, Cain, Bohac, Murphy, and Oliverson, in the case of Russell vs. Harris County to “object to the wholesale release of individuals accused of felony offenses from the Harris County Jail.” Citing a burden of concerns of the “mass release of individuals accused of felony offenses currently housed in the Harris County Jail” this group of Harris County legislators called for the dismissal of the current lawsuit.
“Ordering mass inmate release has been tried three times now. First, Judge Hidalgo’s overreaching order was stopped. Next, Sheriff Gonzalez and sixteen Harris County misdemeanor judges sued in Travis County but were blocked by the Texas Supreme Court, and now a Federal Court has said no again on an existing federal suit,” said Senator Bettencourt. “This is a victory for the citizens. How many times do these elected officials have to hear ‘NO’ on a mass release of inmates from the jail!?”
Judge Rosenthal wrote clearly in her ruling denying the plaintiffs request TRO to release 4,000 inmates from the Harris County jail: “A federal district court asked to wade into policy and political disagreements among State and County elected officials is in risky territory. There is no good, clearly safe, constitutionally, and jurisdictionally right solution to many of the short-term problems and disagreements the pandemic has made so acute.”
State Representative Dennis Paul added, “We are glad to see that a ruling was made to keep the citizens of Harris County safe as we get through this COVID-19 crisis.” Representative Dan Huberty agreed, adding that her ruling, “…also includes protection from repeat and violent criminals for county citizens.”
The 9 Texas Legislator interveners represent approximately 2 million plus constituents in Harris County which include law enforcement officers, medical workers, veterans, small business owners, parents now educating their children at home, crime victims, and many others who are navigating the difficult circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 panic. There is documented strong opposition to these proposed inmate releases all throughout Harris County.
“Common sense prevails!” concluded Representative Sam Harless.
Beijing is facing a diplomatic crisis in Africa after reports of alleged coronavirus-related discrimination against African nationals in China sparked widespread anger across the continent.
African students and expatriates in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou were last week subject to forced coronavirus testing and arbitrary 14-day self-quarantine, regardless of recent travel history, amid heightened fears of imported infections.
Large numbers of African nationals were also left homeless, after being evicted by landlords and rejected by hotels in the city.
Having reportedly contained the virus within China, concerns have grown in recent weeks over a so-called second wave, brought into the country by overseas travelers.
In Africa, however, governments, media outlets and citizens reacted angrily to the apparent rise in anti-foreigner sentiment, as videos of Africans being harassed by police, sleeping on the streets or being locked into their homes under quarantine circulated online.
On Saturday, the front page of Kenya’s biggest newspaper lead with the headline, “Kenyans in China: Rescue us from hell,” as a member of the country’s parliament called for Chinese nationals to leave Kenya immediately.
TV stations in Uganda, South Africa and Nigeria also ran stories on the alleged mistreatment.
With millions of Americans eagerly awaiting their federal stimulus checks to help them weather the the coronavirus recession, people are now able to find out when they can expect to get their money after the government on Wednesday launched a tracking tool called “Get My Payment.”
The first batch of stimulus checks — or “economic impact payments,” as they are officially known — started hitting consumers’ bank accounts on Saturday, the Internal Revenue Service has said. But millions of people remain unsure of when the payments will arrive because it depends on whether the IRS has your direct-deposit information and your income level. Consumers can also update their mailing addresses if they’ve moved since they last filed their tax returns.
The “Get My Payment” service went live on Wednesday at IRS.gov. It allows consumers to check their payment status, confirm whether they prefer direct deposit or a paper check and enter their bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t have it yet.
“We expect over 80 million hard-working Americans will get the direct deposit by this Wednesday,” Mnuchin said.
Consumers will need either their 2019 or 2018 tax returns to complete the “Get My Payment” service, the IRS says. Taxpayers who haven’t yet filed for either year but are required to file a tax return will need to file their 2019 return to get their payment, the IRS said.
People who aren’t required to file tax returns, such as some on Social Security, can use this site for non-filers where they can send the IRS their direct deposit information.
How much you’ll get
Adults with income below $75,000 are due to receive $1,200 each, while married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive $2,400.
Roughly 9 in 10 American households will get a stimulus check, which is to help people stay afloat financially during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. But certain factors could affect how much you get, as well as how fast you receive payment.
Michael Davis is the Chief Financial Officer at Eternal Rest funeral home in Houston, TX.
He says the Coronavirus has changed the way his industry does business.
The business owner says because of CDC guidelines no more than 10 people can attend a funeral service which makes it emotionally tough on families.
Davis says as a result of the new normal his funeral home, started by his late father Skipper Lee, will now live stream funerals so that additional family members and friends can be a part of the service.
Family members must also sign waivers assuming liability while attending a service.
Davis says it’s just part of the new normal in his industry.
Do you care or do you just want the damn check? The Washington Post’s Lisa Rein reports: The Treasury Department has ordered President Trump’s name be printed on stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service is rushing to send to tens of millions of Americans, a process that is expected to slow their delivery by several days, senior agency officials said.
The unprecedented decision, finalized late Monday, means that when recipients open the $1,200 paper checks the IRS is scheduled to begin sending to 70 million Americans in coming days, “President Donald J. Trump” will appear on the left side of the payment.
It will be the first time a president’s signature appears on an IRS disbursement, whether a routine refund or one of the handful of checks the government has issued to taxpayers in recent decades either to stimulate a down economy or share the dividends of a strong one.
While some people receiving the checks — the centerpiece of the U.S. government’s economic relief package to stave of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic — may not care, or observe, whose name appears on them, the decision is another sign of Trump’s effort to cast his response to the pandemic in political terms.
Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to allow the president to formally sign the checks, according to three administration officials who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.