Abbott, Texas delegation ask Congress for hurricane relief funds

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and members of Lone Star State’s congressional delegation last week signed a letter seeking $18.7 billion in Texas-specific Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery funding in the next federal supplemental appropriations bill.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Emergency Management Commission is working with county judges and mayors to secure funding and resources requested by those local officials. 
John Sharp, who heads the commission, testified along with other state officials before the Texas House Appropriations Committee at a meeting in Houston last week examining recovery costs. In his testimony, Sharp urged officials in Harris County and other hurricane-stricken counties to submit the FEMA-required Request for Public Assistance forms by Oct. 31. 
Sharp speculated that the $140 billion early estimate of Hurricane Harvey recovery costs would be turn out to be low.
Revenue total increases
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Oct. 5 announced state sales tax revenue totaled $2.36 billion in September, an amount 10.4 percent more than collected in September 2016.
“The double-digit growth in sales tax revenue was due to increased spending in the oil and natural gas related sectors,” Hegar said. “But moderate growth was evident in sectors fueled primarily by consumer spending, including retail trade and telecommunications services.”
Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in September 2017 is up 5.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago, Hegar added. 
AG opines on naloxone
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Oct. 4 released his official opinion that under the Texas Health and Safety Code, law enforcement agencies in Texas are authorized to receive prescriptions of naloxone, a drug to treat opioid overdoses.
The opinion, written in response to an inquiry by the Texas Medical Board, says that a state law passed in 2015 permits the prescription and dispensing of an opioid antagonist to persons at risk of experiencing an overdose, along with any person in a position to assist in an overdose emergency. 
Paxton said the Legislature “made clear its intent that the law authorizes both individuals and law enforcement agencies to obtain opioid antagonists by prescription.”
TxDOT campaign begins
The Texas Department of Transportation on Oct. 5 rolled out its “Plan While You Can” sober-ride campaign with football season in full swing.

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