Gov. Abbott announces emergency approval for SNAP benefits

The Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide more than $168 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits to aid recipients  during the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Greg Abbott announced today.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved to provide HHS the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size.  "As the state continues to respond to COVID-19, we are working closely with our agency partners to ensure families have access to nutritious meals," said Governor Abbott. "I thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture for quickly granting this approval. These emergency benefits will give hundreds of thousands of Texans the additional support they need to provide for their families during this challenging time."  Read the full story at themonitor.com

Texas governor orders schools closed and bans dine-in eating

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State closing two prisons as population shrinks

Following a declining inmate population and dangerous understaffing in Texas prisons, the state is closing two of its more than 100 lockups. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, announced Thursday that the Garza East prison in Beeville and the Jester I Unit in Sugar Land would be closing soon. He said in a statement that all employees at the closing prisons would be offered jobs at nearby facilities, “preventing the loss of any jobs while also addressing understaffing at other units.” A prison spokesperson said the Beeville unit would close in mid-May, and the Sugar Land prison would close this summer. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s executive director, Bryan Collier, said diversion, treatment and education programs, as well as a low rate of people getting sent back to prison, led to the decision. Read the full story at themonitor.com

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Ban on state income tax gets strong support

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Border Patrol agent shoots, kills gunman who opened fire

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