Local News

Leading Off (8/27/21)

The anti-maskers do Dallas ISD.

Dallas ISD Board Meeting Turns Ugly. The place to be for anti-maskers appears to be local school board meetings. Dallas ISD got its taste last night, as a few dozen maskless protesters arrived with their mouths bared as the board considered whether to ratify Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s mask mandate. Our sister publication People Newspapers has the story; board president Ben Mackey made the maskless address to the board via livestream from another room, which didn’t go over too well with them. The trustees voted 9-0 to support the mask mandate. The region’s pediatric hospitals are 93 percent occupied, prompting healthcare advocates to plead with the public to get vaccinated and wear a mask.

House Advances Voting Bill. The bill that statehouse Democrats fled the state to protest passed the Texas House last night along party lines after three Democrats broke rank and reestablished a quorum. The bill outlaws 24-hour voting and drive-through arrangements, both of which were effective among Black and Latino voters during the pandemic. The vote was 79-37. And I’ll refer to Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura’s tweet: the Texas Legislature “is again going to vote in the middle of the night to ban voting in the middle of the night.”

Extended Unemployment Benefits to End in September. The Texas Workforce Commission announced it would stop funding an extra 13 weeks of unemployment for individuals who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Texans had been eligible for up to 52 weeks of unemployment due to the high rate of job losses throughout the state and nation. Governor Greg Abbott already eliminated eligibility for federal aid, but now the state is closing its spigot. Unemployment will now return to 26 weeks of assistance.

Hot, Humid Weekend Ahead. Expect highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid-70s, which will mostly be in the morning. The highest chance of rain is Saturday, at 24 percent.

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