It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Alex Samuels political reporter for The Texas Tribune.
In his State of the State address, Gov. Greg Abbott laid out his five priorities for the current legislative session. They are: expansion of broadband access, punishing local governments for “defunding” the police, changes to the bail system, ensuring election integrity and providing civil liability protection for businesses that have been open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Samuels says Abbott’s priorities, and other comments he made about issues that have been priorities for conservatives, indicate that he’s thinking about his 2022 reelection bid.
“There’s some speculation about whether Beto O’Rourke will run against him, and Abbott has acknowledged that’s a possibility,” Samuels said.
The state has rolled out a $1.3 billion renters’ assistance program for residents who are struggling to pay rent during the pandemic.
“The assistance for this program will be available to households that make below a certain income threshold, and that will vary by county,” Samuels said.
Some 80,000 households in Texas could be eligible to receive assistance from the program. Funding comes from the federal government, but the online registration system is not yet available.
An executive order from President Biden calls for a review of the so-called remain in Mexico program created by the Trump administration, which requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their asylum cases can be processed. The order also sets up a task force to facilitate reuniting migrant families who are still separated as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.