Opinion

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Millions of Texans dealing with water supply issues Warmer temperatures over the weekend and continuing this week melted most of the snow from the state’s roadways and roofs. But Texans are still dealing with broken pipes that flooded homes and businesses, damaged municipal water systems, and continued power outages in scattered areas, mainly in East and Central Texas.

Another No. 88…

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Dallas Cowboy great Drew Pearson’s candle of hope was down to final flickers. Recently, though, the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognized the greatness of this National Football League star who was named “all-pro” three times. Old number “88”—who set numerous team records in the 1970s-1980s—was named to the 2021 HOF class, unleashing tears from his 70-year-old eyes.

Senate opens budget hearings

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Senators on the Finance Committee this week heard testimony on how the COVID pandemic, economic downturn and federal aid will affect what they can spend on state services. Committee chair and Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson said that despite all the challenges the state faced in 2020, Texas is poised to end the current biennium with a positive bank balance. According to testimony from state Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Monday, retail sales tax collections beat projections and a law passed last year allowing the state to collect sales taxes on online purchases buoyed state revenue. Combined with federal aid and a five percent reduction in most state agency budgets implemented last summer, the state’s ledgers should be in the black when the current biennium ends in September. “We made wise investments and they are paying dividends as we keep working to defeat this virus and get the economy on track,” said Nelson.

A Spoonful of Sugar…

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The clever and ever-so-simple message Julie Andrews conveyed in The Sound of Music—a classic if there ever was one—provided encouragement that thrilled a nation. We often chose to believe the obvious—that “just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”—but it would have taken sugar fields much bigger than the “old cotton fields back home” to sweeten Super Bowl LV.

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

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COVID-19 vaccine pace rises while statewide hospitalizations drop The number of people in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined more than 28 percent in the past month, according to the Texas Department of Health Services. As of Feb.

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

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Vaccine pace picks up slowly The rate of COVID-19 vaccine administration is slowly increasing in Texas as we enter the second full month of shots going into arms. The Texas Department of State Health Services last weekend reported that about 1.6 million Texans — overwhelmingly frontline health workers, people over 65 or those with chronic health conditions —have received the first dose.

State Capital HIGHLIGHTS

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Lawmakers start $7 billion away from target Texas House and Senate leaders appear to agree on their proposed budgets. Next, they just have to figure out how to cut $7.2 billion.