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City, Comptroller reach agreement on sales tax rule change injunction

The City of Round Rock and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reached an agreement Tuesday, Aug. 31, that prohibits the state from implementing a subsection of a new sales tax sourcing rule, pending a final hearing. 

The City filed a lawsuit in July seeking to overturn portions of the Comptroller’s Rule 3.334, which would source sales tax revenue from many online purchases to the buyer’s location instead of the seller’s place of business. This change to decades-old sourcing rules would have cost Round Rock millions of dollars a year in lost local sales tax revenue, most notably from online sales made by Round Rock-based Dell Technologies. 

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NGA Applauds Hours Of Service Waiver Extension For Grocery Truckers

The National Grocers Association applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s extension of its Hours of Service emergency declaration, which was set to expire Aug. 31, but is now extended through Nov. 30.

FMSCA has provided hours-of-service flexibility for commercial drivers transporting certain categories of eligible items critical to the supply chain since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency announced the extension to the waiver based on input from independent grocers.

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Legislative Update - August 2021

The 2nd called Special Session of the Texas Legislature began on August 7th with a total of 17 topics identified by the Governor for consideration. This consisted of the 11 issues from the previous Special Session call and an addition 6 that are new. You can find a the Governor’s announcement and proclamation HERE. Most significant for TRA’s members, Governor Abbott added one of TRA’s priority issues (local employment practices) to the call. As you know, SB14 from the regular session failed to pass in the final days of session but now has another chance to finally become law.  Following the Governor’s announcement, the Texas Senate began immediately passing many of the bills designed to fulfill the Governor’s call, including SB14 (employment practices legislation from the regular session) . Meanwhile, in the Texas House of Representatives the quorum break being forged by many Democratic members over the election integrity legislation continues to prevent that chamber from being able to conduct business or pass any legislation. While in recent days the number of total member present has risen, a quorum has not been reached. For now, it seems that there is significant pressure from all sides of the issue but no clear path forward. We do know the legislature will have to also address redistricting at some point in the near future and it is still unclear how the current status of the legislative proceedings will impact that process. TRA continues to  monitor and participate in the quickly evolving events in the capitol and will keep you up to date on news as it happens. Please feel free to reach out to the TRA team if you have any questions or need additional details on any specific issue.  

Texas Governor Issues Executive Order on July 29, 2021

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order (GA-38) combining several existing COVID-19 executive orders to promote statewide uniformity and certainty in the state's COVID-19 response. 

“Today’s executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s continued fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates. Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas.”

Click here to view Executive Order.

TRA Statement on Governor Abbott's announcement today - Statewide COVID restrictions to end on March 10th

TRA Members:

This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced an Executive Order that effective March 10, 2021, ALL businesses across Texas will be allowed to be open at 100% for occupancy, as well as Ending the statewide face covering/ mask mandate. Click here to see the Executive Order.

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87th Texas Legislative Session Priorities

The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) supports a business-friendly regulatory environment. TRA member companies are regulated, licensed, inspected, and taxed by agencies in Texas and appreciate the Legislature’s efforts to continue to make Texas retail friendly. TRA supports regulation that is reasonable and allows our members to continue to provide excellent customer service, top quality products and continued business success in the retail industry. Our members take various approaches to provide these services, and TRA supports their efforts to make those choices independently without unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed by either the state or local governments. 

Additionally, TRA’s members are playing a key role to help our state and local communities deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we continue to provide those essential services today. We are keeping our customers and employees healthy and safe, and have been leaders in implementing protocols, procedures, and technology to ensure safe shopping environments. TRA supports the state’s actions during the pandemic and appreciates the broad impact and guidance given by our elected officials during this time.

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Vaccinations are on the way for Texas Front Line

Four Texas sites received a total of 19,500 doses of the vaccine on Monday, the first phase of a rollout that will put a quarter-million doses into 110 Texas facilities this week — with more on the way next week.

First, a pinch in the arm.

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El Paso COVID-19 Shutdown Should Be Overturned: George Kelemen

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck Texas earlier this year, it required a great deal of flexibility from us all.

Many quickly moved their lives online while health experts rushed to learn more about the virus and government officials worked to find solutions for preventing widespread outbreaks. In many areas, that process involved complete shutdowns to contain the Coronavirus until public health officials had a better grasp on what we can each do to play our part in flattening the curve.

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NRF Congressional Fly-Ins - Virtual Town Hall Recap

As NRF reimagined its annual Retail Advocates Summit this year, the theme was “Agility in a Time of Crisis.”

But the first agility that needed to be demonstrated was how to bring more than 200 small retailers and state retail association executives together with members of Congress at a time when a global pandemic makes a trip to Washington impractical, if not impossible.

In response, NRF has turned the in-person fly-in into a series of virtual mini-conferences that still let retailers and lawmakers meet “face-to-face” — even if the faces are on computer monitors and the conversations take place over Webex.

“I’m glad if we couldn’t go to D.C., D.C. could still come to us and we could still participate in this event and make it really worthwhile,” Texas Retailers Association President and CEO George Kelemen said.

NRF held the first virtual Retail Advocates Town Hall on September 22 as a joint session for retailers from Texas and Oklahoma. Similar to the traditional in-person Retail Advocates Summit, NRF lobbyists briefed retailers on key issues facing the industry in Washington, and lawmakers were questioned on their positions on issues important to retailers. A similar event was held this week for Ohio retailers and additional sessions are scheduled this month for Florida and Washington state.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agreed that additional assistance is needed for businesses trying to survive the economic impact of the pandemic.







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Governor Abbot Expands Capacity of Certain Services in Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.

In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

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TRA Election Endorsements

The Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Retailers Association PAC (TRAPAC) endorse the following members of the Texas Legislature for election in the 2020 general election. TRA/ TRAPAC endorsements are based on professional connection to the retail industry (retailers, vendors, supply chain, etc..), support for the retail industry through legislative votes on issues of importance to Texas retailers, and sponsoring of and/ or championing of legislation important to Texas retailers. Click here for full list.

Texas Governor Issues Statewide Face Covering Order

This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced an Executive Order instituting a statewide face covering mandate Click Here, to go into effect at Noon on tomorrow, Friday, July 3rd. The Governor’s order requires that all persons in Texas (with minimal exceptions) wear a face covering when in public. There is an individual penalty of a warning for first offense and $250 fines for subsequent offenses for failing to comply with this order.  As a result of the Governor’s action today, retailers in Texas will no longer be in the position of enforcing or policing the wearing of face coverings, as it is now mandated statewide for all persons.

Current list of city and county face covering ordinances in Texas

Texas Retailers Association would like to provide as many resources as possible for the retail industry across the state. Please be sure to stay on top of the latest local ordinances by visiting www.txretailers.org regularly. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thank you!

Current list of city and county face covering ordinances:

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Extension for Substitutions to WIC Approved Foods

To support our WIC community, Texas WIC is again extending the temporary lifting of restrictions for some food categories. The flexibilities, which were previously extended through June 30, 2020, have now been extended through July 31, 2020. These flexibilities should be utilized only when prescribed food items are unavailable. The temporary WIC food substitutions are listed below.

Temporary Flexibilities Extended Through July 31, 2020

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TRA statement on SCOTX decision on Austin PSL

Late on Friday, June 5th, the Texas Supreme Court issued its decision not to hear the city of Austin’s paid sick leave case (PSL), meaning the Austin ordinance is unconstitutional and voided. The city’s ordinance was struck down as unconstitutional by Texas’ Third Court of Appeals in 2019. Therefore, because the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the Third Court’s ruling stands. 

Texas retailers are pleased the Texas Supreme Court has confirmed the Third Court of Appeals’ ruling on the Austin PSL ordinance. We continue to believe that one size fits all local employment ordinances are unconstitutional, as ruled by the Third Court of Appeals. These mandated employment ordinances are burdensome and hurt job growth. Most retailers in Texas provide quality wage and benefit packages including paid time off. 

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase III To Open Texas

June 3, 2020 - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase III, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

As with previous phases, the Phase III plan is based on the advice and support of the four doctors on the Strike Force to Open Texas medical team. Via Executive Order, Phase III begins immediately. A breakdown of Phase III can be found below.

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two To Open Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Additionally, the Governor announced that public schools in Texas have the option to provide in-person summer school so long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by DSHS. These classes may begin as soon as June 1st.

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase One To Open Texas, Establishes Statewide Minimum Standard Health Protocols

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the first phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase I, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The Governor also outlined special guidance for Texans over 65 and detailed a comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas. The Governor also announced a statewide testing and tracing program developed by DSHS that will help public health officials quickly identify and test Texans who contract COVID-19 and mitigate further spread of the virus. 

The Governor's announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas. This detailed report, available on the strike force website, helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations. The report also includes a series of Open Texas Checklists that outline DSHS' minimum standard health protocols for all Texans.

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Governor Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration For COVID-19

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

"By extending my Disaster Declaration, we are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health," said Governor Abbott. "I urge all Texans to continue practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the CDC and my Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19."

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order, Implements Statewide Essential Services And Activities Protocols

March 31, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services. 

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