Texas Press Association
Capital Highlights — Hispanic Texans likely largest demographic group
The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest estimate, which indicates Hispanic residents in Texas make up more of the state’s population than white residents. The new population figures from the American Community Survey indicate Hispanic Texans comprise 40.2% of the state’s population last year, while non-Hispanic white Texans made up 39.4%, as reported in the Texas Tribune.
The estimates, from July 2021, are not considered official but reflect trends that demographers have been tracking for years. Hispanics accounted for nearly half of the state’s population increase of 4 million residents since 2010. Census figures indicate almost half of Texas residents under the age of 18 are Hispanic.
The survey showed that Hispanic residents are more than twice as likely as white resident to live below the poverty line. The median income for a white household last year was $81,235, compared to $54,857 for a Hispanic household.
More than 10,000 migrants bused elsewhere
With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis grabbing headlines by flying migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced that is has now bused more than 10,000 migrants to what he terms “sanctuary cities” such as Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. Last week, at Abbott’s behest, two buses of migrants from Texas were dropped off outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at the United States Naval Observatory in the nation’s capital.
Abbott has long criticized the Biden administration’s approach to migrants seeking asylum in the United States, and Texas has boosted border security funding by $4 billion. Biden last week said the administration has a process to deal with migrants at the border.
“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong,” he said at a gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, according to Politico.
Disaster assistance approved after North Texas flooding
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Abbott’s request for disaster assistance for seven North Texas counties affected by flooding last month. As much as 10 inches of rain fell in the Dallas area in late August, causing widespread damage to businesses and homes.
Counties included in the disaster declaration are Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall, and Tarrant. Applicants can download applications and get further information at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov.
‘Moderate’ deer hunting season predicted
Biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are predicting a moderate season for deer hunters, with archery season kicking off on Oct. 1.
“Overall, 2022 year is expected to be good in terms of harvest numbers and opportunities, so don’t let the chance to spend time afield with family, friends and fellow hunters pass you by,” said Alan Cain with TPWD.
The statewide drought, while now largely in remission, has adversely affected natural forage for deer in late summer, especially in the central, south, and western parts of the state, according to Cain. Wildfires caused significant habitat loss, but those areas are quickly rejuvenating, especially with the recent rains.
“Where fires have occurred, there’s been new grass and weed growth providing some much-needed nutrition and cover for deer,” Cain said. “Although habitat conditions have improved immensely with recent rains, the timing was a bit late to have any meaningful influence on antler quality.”
TABC busts 131 retailers for underage alcohol sales
A statewide sting of alcohol retailers in college towns across Texas netted 131 retailers accused of selling alcohol to minors. The effort by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission coincided with the start of the college fall semester. Minor-aged volunteers under the supervision of undercover TABC agents attempted to buy alcohol from licensed retailers at 1,131 locations. They found a total of 131 violations, or 14% of the locations visited.
Businesses cited for selling booze to a minor could face civil fines and possible suspension of their liquor license. Individual employees would face misdemeanor charges as well.
Pop-up COVID-19 vaccine locations announced
While new cases of COVID-19 cases continue to wane, with 36,856 reported in Texas by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University in the past week, along with 144 deaths, parking lot pop-up vaccine sites are taking place at select Walmart locations across Texas until Sept. 25.
Updated booster vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna address the newer variants, according to officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Vaccination remains our most important tool in the fight against severe illness and death from COVID-19,” said DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. “And the new bivalent vaccines promise an even more effective and safe protection from Omicron variants, which continue to be the leading cause of COVID-19 illness in Texas and across the U.S.”
DSHS reported 2,161 lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Sunday, down slightly from the previous week.
Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.