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April 8, 2020      10:26 PM

Houston Black activists ask Harris County DA to investigate claims of phantom candidate in race for Chair Dutton seat

"More than 2500 voters were duped into voting for a non-existent mystery 'candidate' by the actions of one or more people who got a name put on the ballot by violating numerous laws."

Editor’s note: A copy of the memo including facts about the potential case is available for download at the end of this story – SB

Some African-American activists in Houston, the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats along with some leaders of the county’s Black community, on Wednesday called on Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and County Attorney Vince Ryan to “investigate the presence of a phantom candidate in the March 3rd Democratic Primary for House District 142, including empaneling a grand jury to do so, if needed.”

Oh, you knew this was not going away.

ABC 13 in Houston was first to report – via ace reporter Miya Shay – on the possibility that candidate who came third in the race in the Texas House district now represented by Chairman Harold Dutton was not a real person. As of now, Chair Dutton and City Councilman Jerry Davis are in a runoff.

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By Scott Braddock

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April 8, 2020      4:06 PM

Some Texas business leaders not optimistic about recovery until 2021

Those hoping for a “V” recovery will likely be disappointed and the housing market may be headed for especially hard times

As the COVID-19 pandemic plays out globally, business leaders here in Texas are closely monitoring data and trying to determine what the economy in this state will truly look like once the problem ends or subsides.

The Texas Business Leadership Council on Wednesday held a conference call with reporters to talk about what they’re seeing across a broad range of issues including housing, oil and gas, and testing for the virus itself.

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By Jon Fisher

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April 7, 2020      6:45 PM

Potential for hacking and other security issues prompt Chairman Geren to warn Texas House members and staff against using Zoom for government business

Chair Geren forwarded an email from DPS cybersecurity that says, in part, that Zoom comes with "serious security concerns. The FBI has warned against ZoomBombing or nefarious actors hijack video calls and post offensive images. Zoom's software also allows hackers to spy through a computer's webcam or microphone."

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April 7, 2020      4:40 PM

GOP megadonor, Dallas businessman Brint Ryan to lead task force created by Lt. Gov. Patrick to restart economy

Patrick says “We know it will take longer to start the economy back up than it did to shut it down”

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday announced the creation task force from his Business Advisory Council to work on strategies for restarting the Texas economy when the time is right.

The task for will “work on a set of recommendations for re-starting the economy, once President Trump and Governor Abbott announce that businesses can begin the re-opening process and Texans can go back to work,” per Patrick’s office.

Dallas businessman Brint Ryan, owner of tax advisor company Ryan LLC, will chair the task force.

“We know it will take us much longer to start the economy back up than it did to shut it down for the coronavirus pandemic emergency,” Patrick said. “I have spoken to hundreds of business leaders across the state since the pandemic began, and I know they are already thinking about steps that will need to be taken to put the economy back together when the time comes. I am confident Texas can lead a strong economic recovery both in our state and nationwide and I want to make sure we are ready to go as soon as possible.”

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April 7, 2020      4:36 PM

5th Circuit sides with Texas in putting abortions on hold during COVID-19 pandemic

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April 7, 2020      1:50 PM

Texas Senate staffers set to help TWC answer unemployment claims calls

Senates staffers and members of Patrick's team will start their training Thursday; Speaker Bonnen has asked the same of House members' offices

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April 7, 2020      1:48 PM

Texas Democrats file new federal suit asking for vote-by-mail

Defendants in the suit are Gov. Abbott, Secretary of State Ruth Hughes, the Travis County Clerk, and the Bexar County Elections Administrator

The full filing is here.

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April 6, 2020      10:19 PM

Confirmed: Greg Fenves leaving UT Austin

He is heading to Emory University

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April 6, 2020      11:35 AM

Braddock on Radio: Mixed messages from Gov. Abbott on COVID-19

Editor Scott Braddock and KFYO radio host Chad Hasty discuss Abbott's approach to the coronavirus response and his ongoing fights with local leaders

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April 5, 2020      5:20 PM

Former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle passed away

Earle was 78

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April 3, 2020      2:30 PM

People on the Move

Staffer moves, lobby changes, and more

Things are slowing to a crawl on multiple fronts as it becomes clearer – as if it wasn’t already – that this pandemic is the new reality for the foreseeable future.

Easter? Ha.

I’ve missed seeing all of you out and about in Austin and several speaking engagements have been cancelled or postponed around Texas. Visiting with all of you in every part of our Great State is the best part of this gig and to be unable to do so in person is disappointing but of course necessary. Keep inviting me to your Zoom happy hours and such. At some point, I’ll actually click on one of the links.

Meantime, you can check out the latest edition of the Texas Take Podcast here. Later this evening, Stephanie Chiarello somehow tricked me into being one of the guests on the Over the Ledge podcast. That’ll be streamed here at about 7pm.

Enough about me. People on the Move is about you and your career news. Send it along anytime to ksbraddock@gmail.com and kindly use POTM in the subject line. Many thanks. Here’s the latest edition:

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By Scott Braddock

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April 3, 2020      2:29 PM

Texas prisons adjust to accommodate COVID-19 challenge

Employees working in Texas prisons are the weakest link right now in the spread of COVID-19, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier said in a Facebook livestream this afternoon to discuss the spread of the current pandemic.

Collier, in a question-and-answer session with Communications Director Jeremy Desel, outlined the procedures the state’s prison system has undertaken to keep the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 under control. As of today, 3 offenders in the system and 16 employees or contractors have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’re the biggest risk factor,” Collier said of employees. “Obviously, we’ve got to take care of ourselves inside, but when we’re going home, we need to do what the governor has told us to do, which is go home, shelter in place, and do the essentials. That’s essentially it right now.”

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By Kimberly Reeves and Scott Braddock

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April 2, 2020      7:21 PM

Updated: Texas construction industry adjusts to new reality during COVID-19 pandemic

Various rules now in place for the industry as a patchwork of local orders have been issued; one major reason to keep the industry going is in case the Corps of Engineers needs a ready workforce for quick projects

Editor’s note: After this article was first published, the City of Austin went ahead and issued a new guidance to construction companies operating in the city. The story is updated to reflect that – SB

Although construction continues in Texas during the global pandemic, companies in the industry now find they must navigate a multitude of county and city orders as well as comply with new federal workplace requirements. But, since construction is site specific, companies are generally able to easily understand whether their jobs may proceed.

There are exceptions, however. Let’s dig into this.

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By Jon Fisher

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April 2, 2020      11:10 AM

Comptroller extends franchise tax deadline to July 15

The latest on how the agency is adapting, along with resources for business owners, is here on the Comptroller’s emergency page.

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April 2, 2020      9:54 AM

ICYMI: Kathleen Wall ad in CD22 takes aim at China

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