AUSTIN — Political candidates, now in their final week of campaigning before the Nov. 2 election, are hailing Texas voters with the traditional march of television and radio spots augmented by newspaper ads, direct mail and those increasingly popular social-networking messages.
For those who haven’t voted and want information on candidates, places to go are the League of Women Voters of Texas, www.lwvtexas.org, and the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, www.sos.state.tx.us.
Those whom voters choose to put in the state House, Senate, governor’s office and comptroller’s office will have their hands full. Estimates of the projected state budget deficit have ranged from as low as $8 billion to as high as $25 billion.
And the always-challenging task of redistricting will be waiting at the Capitol steps when the 82nd Texas Legislature convenes in regular session on Jan. 11, 2011.
Courts get ticket info digitally
The Texas Department of Public Safety on Oct. 14 announced it is now making available its traffic citation information to Texas courts and precincts electronically and on paper.
Before, courts received ticket information from Texas Highway Patrol citations either by mail or via hand delivery by the troopers who wrote the tickets.
Status with IRS at risk for some
Nearly 24,000 Texas employers could lose their tax-exempt status because they have not filed required returns in the last three years with the Internal Revenue Service, the Texas Workforce Commission said.
Oct. 15 was the deadline for small nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status to comply with the law under a one-time relief program the IRS announced in July. Non-filers could be liable for filing and paying Unemployment Insurance taxes for the first time if they failed to meet the deadline.
Among organizations that could lose their tax-exempt status if they failed to file are local sports associations and community support groups, volunteer fire and ambulance associations and their auxiliaries, social clubs, educational societies, veterans groups, church-affiliated groups, groups designed to assist those with special needs and others, the Texas Workforce Commission said.
Pre-Republic history is subject
The Texas General Land Office will host a history symposium on Nov. 6 at the Stephen F. Austin State Office Building in Austin, titled “Discovering Spanish and Mexican Texas.”
The focus will be on the settlement of Texas before 1836.
“It’s important to remember the first illegal immigrants in Texas didn’t come across the Rio Grande – they crossed the Sabine River into Spanish and Mexican Texas,” said Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, in inviting students of Texas history.
Symposium registration fees will help fund the preservation of more than 35 million historic maps and documents archived at the General Land Office.
Pay up or we’ll come knocking
The Texas Comptroller’s office announced Oct. 22 it will begin working with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in the following respect. The two agencies plan to team up to suspend mixed beverage and private club permits held by businesses that are delinquent on franchise, sales or hotel occupancy taxes. This will begin early next year and add to current tax-collection measures.
Motorcyclist signage to go up
The Texas Department of Transportation plans to unveil on Oct. 26 the first of its new motorcycle-specific “Stay Alert, Save a Life” signs in Real County.
Signs will be placed along winding roads to caution riders to be alert through the next few miles. TxDOT will install other such warning signs in Real County before the annual Three Sisters Motorcycle Rally in November.
Since September 2006, 14 motorcyclists have been killed in crashes along the route, TxDOT said.
Monthly unemployment rate drops
Texas’ unemployment rate improved to 8.1 percent in September, better than the 8.3 percent recorded for the month of August, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Oct. 21.
Honors for TV ‘Texas Rangers’
The Texas Public Safety Commission on Oct. 21 voted 4-0 to name “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris and his brother, the show’s executive producer Aaron Norris, as honorary Texas Ranger captains. The Dallas-Fort Worth-based television series ran from 1993 to 2001.
Other actors who have been so honored include Willie Nelson, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Audie Murphy, Tommy Lee Jones, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Glen Campbell, and many more.