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Council considers calling Abbott to action

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Thursday’s special called San Marcos City Council meeting considered a letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking him to take action to alleviate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latinx Texans and people of color.

After several amendments, city council kicked the discussion to the June 18 meeting following more research and staff input about exactly what powers the governor has to take unilateral action.

Mayor Jane Hughson said she wants the letter to be put forth in the form with the best chance of success.

The letter, requested by councilmember Maxfield Baker said, “The large majority of those who have been hospitalized by COVID-19 are people of color and low-income populations. Public health experts have confirmed that this is mainly because Latinx and people of color are overwhelmingly working on the front lines. Inaction to protect our frontline workers will result in predictable consequences, including loss of life. “

According to the Hays County Health Department, 53% of county residents diagnosed with COVID-19 are Hispanic, while 33.8% are non-Hispanic and 13.2% are not specified.

Amendments were made to soften some “combative” language and remove slang titles for a referenced law.

The letter calls for the governor to expand Medicaid stating that, “Texas is the most uninsured state in America. The Latinx community lacks health insurance more than any other major population in Texas.”

The letter also calls for the Texas' attorney general to drop the lawsuit that is blocking paid sick leave policies in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.

Additionally, the letter asks to, “Use the Economic Stabilization Fund (a.k.a. Rainy Day Fund) to provide immediate and continued financial relief to working class families, regardless of immigration status.”

The fourth request was to nullify Senate Bill 4, which allows police to ask a detainee or arrestee about their immigration status, including drivers and passengers who have been pulled over. The letter explains, “because of this law, many immigrants are too afraid to seek critical medical interventions or public assistance for fear of being separated from their families.”

Lastly it calls for supporting Texas municipalities’ efforts to manage the COVID19 crisis.

San Marcos Record

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