Here is a roundup of some of those frequently asked questions with corresponding answers.
Editor's note: Have a question about how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected a state regulation? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to get it answered for you.
How has the coronavirus affected Texas driver’s license expiration dates?
Effective March 18, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the temporary waiver of expiration dates for driver's licenses, commercial driver’s licenses, election identification cards and identification cards. This means if a license or card expires on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period that encompasses the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time Department of Public Safety issues public notice that the extension period for this disaster declaration has been lifted.
How has the coronavirus affected the Real ID enforcement deadline?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced March 26 that the Real ID enforcement deadline had been extended by one year until Oct. 1, 2021. The original enforcement deadline was set for Oct. 1, 2020.
How has the coronavirus affected vehicle registration, titling and related services?
Effective March 16, Abbott issued a statement granting a temporary extension to obtain initial registration, renewal of registration, vehicle titling and renewal of a permanent disabled parking placard. The temporary waiver is in effect until 60 days after the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles notifies the public that normal vehicle registration, titling and related services have resumed. As vehicle inspections must be obtained prior to renewing vehicle registration, those, too, can be delayed.
How has the coronavirus affected court proceedings?
The Texas Judicial Branch issued its first coronavirus-related emergency order March 13 requiring all judges “to avoid risk to court staff, parties, attorneys, jurors, and the public” without a participant’s consent. The entity’s third emergency order issued March 18 amended the first emergency order by prohibiting judges from conducting nonessential proceedings in person contrary to local, state, or national directors, whichever is most restrictive, regarding maximum group size. Finally, the eighth emergency order issued April 1 also amended the first order, delaying all service and statute-of-limitations deadlines in civil cases from March 13 until June 1. For more information on all coronavirus-related emergency orders issued by the Texas Judicial Branch, click here. For county-specific jury duty information, jurors are encouraged to reach out to their respective district clerk.
How has the coronavirus affected the deadline to complete the 2020 census?
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, the U.S. Census Bureau initially planned to begin nonresponse followups in early April but pushed it to early May citing concerns for its census takers who go door-to-door collecting responses. The bureau now plans to complete its count by mid-August, an extension from its original date of July 31.
How has the coronavirus affected upcoming elections?
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, Abbott issued a proclamation March 18 allowing political subdivisions to postpone their May 2 local elections until the general election day on Nov. 3.
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper’s partner publication The Texas Tribune, Judge Tim Sulak said April 15 he will issue a temporary injunction allowing all voters who risk exposure to the coronavirus if they vote in person to ask for a mail-in ballot under a portion of the Texas Election Code allowing absentee ballots for voters who cite a disability.