Government Orders & Declarations (Compiled here)
Additional Resources (for educational purposes only):
TTLA COVID-19 RESOURCES
March 31, 2020
TTLA Live Info Share: SBA Disaster Assistance in Response
to the Coronavirus on Friday, April 3rd, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM.
TTLA is hosting a FREE Live Info Sharing Session on the SBA
Loan Program in light of the recent COVID-19 Relief Legislation.
Learn more & register here.
March 30, 2020
Updated SBA Application Process
SBA is collecting the requested information in order to make a loan
under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to the qualified
entities listed in this application that are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The information will be used in determining whether the applicant is
eligible for an economic injury loan.
The application can be found here.
March 30, 2020
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
by Nicole Perdue, Perdue & Kidd, L.L.P., Of Counsel
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”).
The FFCRA seeks to assist employees impacted by
COVID-19 and applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.
The FFCRA provides for, among other things, (1) one new
category of paid FMLA leave related to child care disruption
due to the current public health emergency and (2) paid sick
time for certain reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions
take effect on April 1, 2020 and are scheduled to terminate
December 31, 2020. The FFCRA also includes related
employer tax credits.
The paper can be found here.
US Department of Labor FAQs can be accessed here.
March 27, 2020
The State Bar is collecting “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Orders as a service
to members and the public.
The list can be found here.
March 26, 2020
Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner's Bulletin RE: COVID-19: Claim-handling deadlines and premium payments
On March 20, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott suspended certain claim-handling deadlines imposed by law. Additionally, the Commissioner of Insurance has determined that the COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster under Texas Insurance Code Section 542.059(b)...
Taken together, the Governor’s suspension and the Commissioner’s declaration have the effect of extending claim-handling deadlines imposed by the state’s prompt payment laws for an additional 15 days to help carriers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This extension will be in effect until the Governor’s suspension and Commissioner’s declaration are lifted.
The full bulletin can be found here.
March 25, 2020
TTLA Info Share: Zoom Depos & COVID Court Procedures, Fri, March 27, 2020 at 11:00 AM. This interactive online session will include an update on how local and state courts are adjusting operations during the COVID-19 crisis and an in-depth how-to about conducting digital depositions using video conferencing platforms like Zoom.
March 25, 2020
The Texas Legislature enacted legislation in 2017 to authorize the use of two-way video and audio conferencing for notary services. More information is available from the National Association of Secretaries of State here.
March 24, 2020
Updated application, access here.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has authorized Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for small businesses. The loans are working capital loans to help small businesses "meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period."
TTLA President Jim Mitchell updated members about TTLA's response to the COVID-19 crisis in his monthly report. Access the report here (login required).
March 23, 2020
The State Bar of Texas has extended deadlines for submitting MCLE. From the State Bar:
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is making it difficult for some attorneys to complete their MCLE requirements on time. In response, the State Bar of Texas MCLE Department will grant an automatic 60-day extension to attorneys reaching their compliance deadlines in March, April, or May. Attorneys who missed compliance deadlines in January or February will receive an automatic 60-day extension to prevent the assessment of further fees. Attorneys now subject to suspension for failing to comply with MCLE requirements in November or December will have an additional one-month extension. Please contact the MCLE Department at 800-204-2222, ext. 1806, or email@example.com if you have questions about the extensions or MCLE compliance requirements.
March 22, 2020
Supreme Court Emergency Order:
Because of uncertainty regarding the feasibility of handling paper ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 elections for presidents-elect and directors of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association must be conducted online only, by electronic vote, and not by paper ballot. The voting period is extended to May 29, 2020, at 5:00pm.
Access the full order here.
March 20, 2020
The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order suspending residential eviction proceedings through April 19, 2020, unless there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity.
Access the full order here.
Governor Abbott Announces Approval Of Emergency Designation For Small Business Disaster Loans From U.S. Small Business Administration
Access Governor's Press Release here.
Access the U.S. Small Business Administration Application here.
March 19, 2020
The Attorney General of Texas Catastrophe Notice - Section 552.233 of the Government Code
Pursuant to section 552.233(b) of the Government Code, a governmental body may suspend the applicability of the requirements of the Public Information Act (the “PIA”) if the governmental body is currently impacted by a catastrophe and provides proper notice in accordance with this section. In order to suspend the requirements of the PIA, a governmental must provide notice to the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) in accordance with sections 552.233(c) and 552.233(e) of the Government Code. The OAG is required to post a copy of a catastrophe notice provided under this section on its website for one calendar year from the date the OAG received a copy of the notice.
Access the Governor's Press Release here.
Access the Attorney General's Press Release here.
The Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a third Emergency Order this morning. From the Supreme Court of Texas:
In a third emergency order Thursday morning the Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals amended their original joint order to establish court proceedings may be conducted “away from the court’s usual location with reasonable notice and access to the participants and the public.” The change omits reference to the county-venue limitation in the original order so, for example, a judge assigned to an involuntary-quarantine challenge may preside from a location across the state.
The latest order also clarifies that court deadlines and procedures subject to modification or suspension apply specifically to the Texas Family Code’s one-year deadline for dismissing parental-rights-termination suits under Family Code section 263.401.
And the order notes courts must not conduct “non-essential proceedings in person contrary to local, state, or national directives, whichever is most restrictive, regarding maximum group size.”
The order ends no later than 30 days after the governor’s disaster declaration ends.
The full order can be found here.
March 18, 2020
If you were unable to attend the TTLA Live Info Sharing held on March 19, 2020, you can access the Power Point presentation here (login required).
COVID-19 has us all reeling. Trial schedules are up in the air, our offices are remote, we’re all having to be apart from our colleagues, friends, and family.
Things are tough right now, but we’ll get through this together.
What makes TTLA such a special organization is that we are a family. We need to stay connected and engaged with each other. We need to continue sharing our knowledge, ideas, and expertise. We need to keep celebrating our successes and working through our challenges.
We can’t do that face-to-face right now, but we can still do it virtually.
TTLA is hosting a Live Virtual Info Sharing session so that we can share our collective knowledge about how to adjust our law offices to COVID-19 and social distancing.
Bring your questions and ideas. We’ll discuss best practices, good ideas, and what to avoid.
Thursday, March 19, at 2:00 PM
All TTLA members are invited (limited to the first 150 registrants)
Discussion moderated by President Jim Mitchell and CEO Tiffany McGee, CAE
Panelists include: Julian C. Gomez, Jim M. Perdue Jr., Nelson Roach and TTLA General Counsel Jim Pecora
March 14, 2020
The Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have issued an Emergency Order that outlines numerous modifications to deadlines, procedures, and operations that courts can make in response the Governor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration. The full order can be found here.
March 13, 2020
TTLA leaders and staff have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our members, sponsors, staff, and their (our) respective communities continue to be our top priority.
Therefore, after detailed consultation with TTLA leadership and our event venues, we have made the decision to postpone the following upcoming events:
• Trial Advocacy College of Texas (TACT)
• TTLA Advocates CLE Luncheon in Dallas
• Santa Fe Advanced Tactics & Strategies Seminar
We are working with seminar chairs to find suitable dates for these events in the near future. All current registrations for these programs will be honored. We will notify you of these new dates as soon as possible.
At this time, we intend to hold the TTLA Midyear Conference & CLE Seminar in Houston as scheduled, June 3-5. However, we have a contingency plan for an online conference option should that become necessary. We will continue to monitor the virus’s impact across the state and follow the direction of local, state, and federal health officials as we make decisions about future events.
Staff safety will guide decisions about necessary office closures. We have systems and contingency plans in place that allow staff to maintain a high level of productivity and member service while working remotely.
Finally, we urge you to take precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and create plans for your own law firms and families. Likewise, be sure to monitor potential disruptions to courthouse operations by staying in contact with local court administrators and referring to the Office of Court Administration's list of reported courthouse closures here.
March 11, 2020
TTLA continues to monitor the rapidly changing situation related to the spread of COVID-19. We understand that concerns for health and safety are affecting our members. The safety of our members, staff and community is our top priority. We urge you to take basic precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
To address concerns you may have, we have prepared the following FAQs regarding our response to COVID-19. We will be update this page as more information becomes available.
Has TTLA canceled or rescheduled any meetings or events?
All TTLA meetings and events are continuing as scheduled. We intend to follow the direction of local, state, and federal health officials as we make decisions about any schedule changes. The venues that are hosting our upcoming TACT College and Santa Fe seminar are taking steps to maintain all appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures. We further encourage event attendees to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. If there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information to registrants about virtual options that may be available and/or other specific details as soon as possible.
What steps should attorneys take?
We encourage you develop plans for your office or firm. Affected areas could see widespread restrictions on travel and/or quarantines. So, it is prudent to have arrangements for your staff to work remotely.
Courthouse operations may be affected. We recommend staying in contact with county and district clerks and court administrators to determine whether there are any disruptions to courthouse operations. Also, the Office of Court Administration maintains a list of reported courthouse closures here.
The State Bar of Texas has issued this guidance: "If you or a client has an illness, or if you believe you or a client may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the judiciary is asking that you notify the court before making a court appearance so that appropriate actions can be taken."
Has COVID-19 affected TTLA's normal operations?
TTLA’s office continues to operate normally. Should it become necessary to close the office, staff has the ability to work remotely to minimize any disruption to member services.