News & Press: Member Update

ACEC Texas Member Update - May 14, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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Engineering News and Updates


ACEC Texas

Member Update

May 14, 2020

New Proposed COVID-19 Relief & Employer Protections

U.S. House Democrats unveiled the latest draft legislation for COVID-19 relief aid, totaling $3 trillion. Although still early in the bill process, the highlights in the draft include nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments, a second round of direct payments to persons and households similar to those being distributed currently, more funding for COVID-19 testing, and hazard pay for essential workers who have heightened health risks during the crisis. The draft has already received pushback from Republicans, claiming the bill is a “wishlist” for Democrats and has no chance of becoming law. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she wants the House to vote on the bill this Friday.

Additionally, the state of Texas joined the growing number of states and federal leaders pushing for employer protections from COVID-19. This week, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking for their support for liability protections for Texas employers. This would include protecting
business owners, healthcare facilities and employees, and first responders from being held liable for COVID-19 exposure claims when they adhere to relevant public health guidelines and make good faith efforts to limit the risk of exposure and infection. State leaders are asking for these provisions to be included in the next phase of COVID-19 relief aid.

To view the letter, please click on the following link:
Letter to Congress on Employer Liability.


Last Call! ACEC Texas Membership Survey

This is the LAST CALL to complete the MEMBERSHIP SURVEY. ACEC Texas is in the process of developing a strategic plan and the survey will be an important tool in helping us plan and improve our programs and services. The responses will provide valuable input into the board’s discussions and will help establish priorities that will make the biggest difference for you and our member firms.The survey was previously emailed to all members, and the last day to fill out the membership survey is Monday, May 18th. The survey should not take more than a few minutes, and respondents will be entered into a drawing for one of two $50 Amazon gift cards and one of five ACEC Texas baseball caps.


State Leaders Announce Funding for Local Governments

Governor Abbott and Senate and House leaders sent a letter to city and county leaders announcing $5.06 billion in funding available to local governments in Texas through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.Of this $5.06 billion, the U.S. Department of Treasury has directly sent over $3.2 billion to the 6 cities and 12 counties in Texas with a population greater than 500,000.The remaining $1.85 billion will be available to other cities and counties throughout the state. Funding will go towards reimbursement of direct expenses incurred by cities and counties due to COVID-19.

To view the letter, please click on the following link:
Letter to Local Governments


High-Speed Rail Update – Key Win for Texas Central

The Texas 13th Court of Appeals ruled on May 7th (James Miles v. Texas Central) that Texas Central, the company developing the Texas high-speed train line between Houston and Dallas, can legally be recognized as a railroad in Texas. This marks a key victory for Texas Central in the ongoing legal battle to construct a high-speed rail system. Texas law states that only certain entities can use the power of eminent domain, which includes railroads. The argument against Texas Central was that it does not own any trains or construct any tracks, therefore it does not operate as a railroad.The decision is expected to be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.


ACEC National Complimentary Webinars for Next Week

ACEC National continues to offer members free online classes and roundtable opportunities as we continue to work through COVID-19. Next week’s webinars available to register for are below:


For regular industry news and updates regarding COVID-19,
please visit the ACEC Texas and ACEC National
webpages by clicking on the following:

ACEC Texas: COVID-19 Homepage

ACEC National: COVID-19 Homepage

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ACEC San Antonio Chapter Meeting-08/19/20