Austin, TX

Texas Governor Signed a New Senate Bill into Law

Tom Handy

In Austin, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law on Monday, November 8. The bill will allocate almost $16 billion of money Texas received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

According to the news release from the governor’s office, Senate Bill 8 will allocate funding for various state resources.

Funding will be allocated to the following areas according to CBS DFW:

  • $7.2 billion to the Unemployment Compensation Fund to pay back outstanding advances and to bring the balance of the fund to the statutory floor
  • $500.475 million for broadband infrastructure
  • $150 million for the deployment and reliable operations of next-generation 911 service including equipment and administration costs
  • $180 million for tourism, travel, and the hospitality industry recovery (for those who have not received federal aid)
  • $160 million to address the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) shortfall affecting Crime Victims Assistance grants
  • $2 billion for state and local hospital surge staffing, antibody therapeutic drugs, and the operation of regional antibody infusion centers
  • $378.3 million for critical staffing needs of frontline workers including recruitment and retention bonuses for nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health facilities, community attendants, and emergency medical services providers
  • $75 million to support rural hospitals that have been affected by COVID-19
  • $113 million to support the operations and expansion of mental health services for Texas children and families
  • $35 million to upgrade all nine Texas State Veteran Homes, along with negative pressure COVID-19 wards, and mobile high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units for the Homes
  • $95 million for supplemental funding to food banks in response to COVID-19

In a statement Governor Abbott said:

“Senate Bill 8 allocates federal funding to support Texans in need, including our veterans, rural communities, small businesses, and frontline workers. Allocating these federal funds paves the way for a more prosperous, brighter future for all Texans, and I want to thank my partners in the Legislature for bringing this bill to my desk.”

The Texas Governor added to the bill a statement that the money will not be used toward COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

"Senate Bill No. 8 from the 87th Legislature, Third Called Session, appropriates funds made available to the State of Texas under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Pub. L. No. 117-2," reads the statement. "The Texas Attorney General has advised that the State’s receipt and use of these so-called 'ARPA Funds' does not legally lead to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Texas. Based on this understanding, I signed and approved this bill."

Do you hope some of the money will get used in your city?

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