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Retiring state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has been named the next secretary of state by Gov. Greg Abbott. She replaces John Scott, who announced his resignation effective at year’s end.
Scott was the third nominee for the post not confirmed by the Senate. He was appointed in October 2021, and the Legislature has not met since then. Nelson, who is completing 30 years in the Senate, should be a strong candidate for approval because of her lengthy tenure there. A new legislative session convenes in January. The secretary of state’s office, among other duties, oversees the state’s election process.
“I look forward to this new chapter of public service and appreciate the confidence Governor Abbott has placed in me to serve as Secretary of State,” Nelson said in a statement. “Voters expect fair elections with accurate, timely results, and I am committed to making that happen. Texans with all political views should have faith in our election system.”
TPWD biologists stress testing harvested deer
The recent discover of chronic wasting disease in Kaufman County has spurred biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to stress the importance of testing deer taken this hunting season to curb the spread of the deadly disease.
The neurological disease is highly contagious and affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. It has been found in 17 Texas counties and documented in both captive and free-ranging deer in 30 states and three Canadian provinces, according to TPWD.
Anyone hunting in an established CWD zone must bring their deer to a check station within 48 hours of harvest for testing. There are about 30 check stations and drop boxes across the state. For more information, visit the TPWD website at tpwd.texas.gov.
State’s largest teacher prep program under fire
The Texas Education Agency is recommending that Texas Teachers of Tomorrow have its accreditation revoked after failing to improve training of teacher candidates. The Dallas Morning News reported the company, which certifies thousands of teachers mainly through online courses, failed to meet demands by TEA that it ensure all candidates receive adequate actual classroom training. The State Board of Educator Certification met Friday to consider the company’s fate. Texas Teachers of Tomorrow and TEA are expected to present arguments before an administrative judge, and the case could stretch on for months or even more than a year. The company has been on probation for several months, and TEA found it did not meet the terms of their agreement to improve. The state already faces a teacher shortage that could be exacerbated if the company’s accreditation is revoked.
COVID-19 cases rise
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the past week in Texas rose once again, this time to 30,096 with 91 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a slight increase, with 1,977 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients across the state.