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Texas Press Association State Capital Highlights
Attorney General seeks halt to home foreclosures in Texas
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 • Posted October 12, 2010

AUSTIN — The Texas Attorney General’s office on Oct. 5 called for a halt on all foreclosures, sales of properties previously foreclosed upon and evictions of persons residing in previously foreclosed upon properties.

Loan-servicing companies were asked to review their processes, including whether employees or agents “robo-signed” affidavits and other documents recorded in the state before proceeding with foreclosures.

Suspension notices were sent to 30 loan-servicing companies doing business in Texas in an effort to determine the full harm Texas homeowners may have suffered or could suffer as a result of these business practices.

On Oct. 6, the attorney general’s office reached an agreement with Wells Fargo & Co. to provide $5 million in relief to more than 200 Texas homeowners who had “payment option” adjustable rate mortgage loans with the bank.

FEMA denies aid for Hermine

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Oct. 8 denied Gov. Rick Perry’s request for a major disaster declaration as a result of Tropical Storm Hermine, which barreled through Texas Sept. 8-10. The state may appeal.

If granted, the governor’s request would have brought about $7 million in federal aid to 13 of the worst-hit counties.

FEMA said storm damage was not severe enough to warrant federal aid. Hermine caused eight deaths, destroyed about 200 homes and washed out roads and bridges.

Flu shots encouraged for all

The state health department on Oct. 5 announced that Texans over 6 months old should get a seasonal flu shot as soon as possible.

“There’s no reason to wait. The supply is here,” said Commissioner David Lakey of the Department of State Health Services.

“We usually see an increase in flu cases in late October or early November. It takes the vaccine about two weeks to become effective, so get vaccinated now to protect yourself and your family.”

Lakey said this year’s seasonal vaccine also protects against H1N1 flu. A nasal spray vaccine is an option for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant.

Candidate forum held without Perry

The Houston Chronicle reported that candidates for governor met in Houston for a debate on Oct. 3. Incumbent Gov. Perry was invited but did not appear at the forum. Questions focused on public education issues.

Harris County Board of Education and the Houston-area League of Women Voters, asked questions of Democratic candidate Bill White, the Green Party’s Deb Shafto and Kathie Glass of the Libertarian Party.

Wild pig problem grabs spotlight

The Texas Department of Agriculture on Oct. 4 declared October “Hog Out Month – Get the Hog Outta Texas!”

An estimated 2 million feral hogs live in Texas and they cause some $400 million in damage a year in Texas. That’s $200 in damage per critter.

A grant will be given to the counties with the most hogs removed. County Extension agents have more information on hog control measures and the granting program.

Tax intake shows marked uptick

The office of the Texas comptroller on Oct. 6 reported state sales tax collections totaled $1.57 billion in September, up 6.8 percent compared to a year ago.

“This increase is significantly larger than recent monthly gains which have been in the 0 to 2 percent range,” said Comptroller Susan Combs. “Sales tax increases were posted across almost all sectors including oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and restaurants.”

Watch for deer, TxDOT says

During fall months, there’s more deer activity so Texas motorists should keep a close watch for animals that wander onto the highway, especially at night.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation more than 7,000 animal-related crashes occurred on Texas highways in 2009, many involving deer. Twenty-five of those crashes involved a fatality.

Data show recession’s effects

The Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin-based non-profit, analyzed the 2009 American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported the following:

More Texans are below the poverty line and lack health insurance compared to 2008 and most of Texas’ metro area poverty rates exceed the U.S. average.

Nearly one in four Texans (23.8 percent), or almost 5.8 million people, does not have health insurance.

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