The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

My 5 Cents


Last updated 6/25/2020 at 11:40am

This upcoming month we will celebrate two important holidays. The first being the Fourth of

July to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The second is National

Pecan Pie Day on July 12. Pecan pie also happens to be the State Pie of Texas. So while you

shoot off fireworks and eat pie, I hope it is with those close to you, as I know mine will be.

Here are five things happening around your state:

1. Operation Connectivity

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) have launched a statewide

initiative called Operation Connectivity. The purpose of this initiative is to provide online

connectivity solutions and device solutions for school districts, families and students in Texas.

Lack of access to broadband internet has long been an issue in many parts of the state, especially

within rural areas. However, as many students are studying from home now due to COVID-19,

the lack of resources has become even more apparent. I have been asked to serve on the Policy

and Advocacy Workgroup, where our goal is to determine the changes needed in federal and

state laws and regulations related to connectivity. I have and will continue to do my part in

advocating for the needs of Senate District 3, which I represent.

2. Work-Search Requirements

In March, due to COVID-19 and the restraints it placed on businesses and employees, the Texas

Workforce Commission (TWC) temporarily removed the work-search requirement to qualify for

unemployment. Beginning on July 6, TWC will reinstate this requirement, which is a federal

requirement. To qualify for unemployment benefit payments, an individual must prove they have

engaged in at least three work-search activities. Those who are self employed, must show proof

they have taken at least three steps to reopen their businesses. Individuals may utilize online

resources to search for a new job, and do not have to take the first job offered to them. You can

find jobs posted and other resources at

3. DPS Appointment System

My five cents…

A monthly column from Sen. Robert Nichols

by Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate District 3

Select Department of Public Safety (DPS) offices have reopened across the state, but they are

currently only providing services for the following:

 Applying for an original Texas driver license or identification card (ID)

 Applying for a Texas learners license

 Driver license services requiring a skills exam, and;

 Applying for a commercial driver license (CDL) or taking a CDL skills exam

If your driver license, ID, or CDL expired on or after March 13, 2020, you will be granted a

waiver for the expiration date up to 60 days after DPS notifies the public their offices have

resumed normal operations. If you qualify for any of the services listed above, you can visit the

following link to schedule an appointment and/or to find if your local DPS office has reopened You may also find information on renewing

your license online.

4. Operation Safe Open

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) under 'Operation Safe Open' is monitoring

businesses to ensure that they are following safety protocols including monitoring indoor

capacity and enforcing social distancing measures for large groups of customers. At the

beginning of June, the state allowed bars to open to 50 percent capacity and restaurants to 75

percent, as long as they abided by the state health guidelines which include social distancing

between customers. If TABC determines that establishments are in violation of these measures

and a threat to public health and safety, they could have their license suspended for 30 days on

the first violation, and up to 60 days on their second violation. In the first three days of the

operation, 12 establishments across the state had their licenses suspended. To find out more

about these violations and the guidelines restaurants and bars must follow, please visit

5. Nursing Homes

Throughout this pandemic, many Texans have been separated from their loved ones who reside

in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and state supported living centers. If you or your loved

ones are having difficulty finding out information during this time, or have concerns about their

quality of life, a Long Term Care (LTC) ombudsman is available to you. LTC ombudsmen are

volunteers or employees of an agency that is free standing from the care facility. Their services

are free and confidential and there to serve Texans in need. To find an ombudsman for a nursing

home and assisted living facility you can call 1-800-252-2412. For those living in a state

supported living center you can call 1-877-323-6466.


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