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Early voting underway in local elections

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Early voting began Monday, April 22 for municipal, school board and various bond elections. It ends on April 30 with Saturday, May 4 being election day. What is on the ballot depends on where you live.

There are various ways to learn what is on the local ballot. One way is by going to the following link: nhbyhnyu. This takes you to the Texas Tribune’s election center, where voters can type in their address to find out what is on their ballot.

In addition, most local newspapers and county election websites post notices of local elections.


The key provisions of a law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott requiring booksellers to rate books for sexual content were gutted after the full 17-member court 5th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider an earlier decision, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The vote was 9-8 to let the earlier decision stand.

A group of independent booksellers joined with book associations to challenge the law, passed in the 2023 regular legislative session. The booksellers contended the law violated the First Amendment and would cause considerable harm to their operations. One owner said the law already has caused a chilling effect and resulted in lost orders.

“The damage to us is mitigated by the fact we don’t have to review every book and rate every book that we’ve sold to the school library,” Valerie Koehler, owner of Houston’s Blue Willow Bookshop and a lead plaintiff, said of the court’s decision. “But the damage has been done in terms of the libraries across the entire state have changed their policies in a way that makes it hard for new books to get in.”

State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, sponsored the bill and disagreed with the court’s decision.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that a majority of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with book vendors who push pornography on unsuspecting children in our public schools,” he wrote in a statement posted on social media.


A wide range of emergency preparation supplies will be exempt from sales tax April 27-29, the Austin American-Statesman reported. The total cost of the items must be less than $75 for most items on the list, such as batteries, first aid kits, flashlights, tarps, and fire extinguishers. Higher amounts are allowed for portable generators (less than $3,000) and emergency ladders and hurricane shutters (less than $300).

Supplies that do not qualify for tax exemption include face masks, cleaning supplies, gloves, toilet paper and tents.

For a complete list of what qualifies for tax exemption and what doesn’t, go to the state comptroller’s website: https://tinyurl. com/2c6fn4kp.


A $100,000 daily fine levied against the state for failing to implement fixes to the state’s foster care system ordered by a federal judge was temporarily halted by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Statesman reported.

U.S. District Judge Janis Jack levied the fines last Monday after finding the state Health and Human Services Commission repeatedly failed to fully investigate abuse allegations in the foster care system.

Jack issued a 427-page ruling that listed dozens of cases where mistakes or delays in investigations resulted in children going without treatment for physical and sexual abuse.

Houston attorney Paul Yetter, who has represented the plaintiffs since the case was filed in 2011, condemned the state’s appeal.

“Rather than certify safe, timely investigations of reports of child abuse and neglect, the state seems determined to avoid responsibility,” Yetter wrote to the Statesman in an email Tuesday. “This appeal sends a terrible message to Texas children that state leadership just doesn’t care about their safety.

The stay means the fines will not be levied until the 5th Circuit Court considers the merits of the state’s appeal.


The Biden-Harris administration announced last week that it would grant $6.4 billion in direct funding for Samsung Electronics to expand its computer chip manufacturing and research cluster in Texas, the Associated Press reported. The money comes from the CHIPS and Science Act signed by President Joe Biden into law in 2022.

“The proposed project will propel Texas into a state-of-the-art semiconductor ecosystem,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on a call with reporters. She predicted the project in Taylor will create at least 17,000 construction jobs and more than 4,500 manufacturing jobs.

The funding will also expand an existing Samsung facility in Austin. The two factories being built in Taylor, about 45 miles northeast of Austin, are expected to become operational in 2026 and 2027.

Senator John Cornyn commended the measure in a statement Monday.

“By investing in leading- edge semiconductor manufacturing, we are helping secure this vulnerable supply chain, boosting our national security and global competitiveness, and creating new jobs for Texans,” Cornyn said.


Auto insurance rates in Texas rose an average 25.53% in 2023, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. It’s largest annual increase in at least a decade and more than double average increases across the country, according to the Express-News.

Among the factors driving the increase are increased prices for new and used vehicles; increased costs of labor and parts; and the volume of accidents in Texas. The number of serious injury crashes in 2022 was up 18.5% from 2019, while the number of vehicle traffic fatalities increased 23.6%.

Ware Wendell, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Texas Watch, recommended that customers go to the Office of Public Insurance Counsel’s website to compare policies from different companies. That website is

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, Lufkin and Cedar Park. Email:

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666