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Texas Senate Will Take a Look at Zika Preparedness

Also, a new action taken to stop the state's new teacher evaluation system and inside the two-day process to hang Rick Perry's portrait in the Capitol.

The Aedes albopictus mosquito.

The Texas Senate will take a closer look at the state’s ability to control the Zika virus, according to an announcement Monday from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to address the topic at a May 17 hearing at the Texas Capitol.

"With increasing news concerning the Zika virus' potential impact on Texas, and after several personal discussions with medical experts over the past few months, I believe it is time for the latest update in a public hearing," Patrick said in a statement. "Recent flooding has made this issue even more important to examine. We need a report on our readiness across Texas, including ways for people to take mosquito precautions."


The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) announced on Monday that it has petitioned Education Commissioner Mike Morath to make revisions to a controversial proposed teacher evaluation system.

The teacher group’s action comes after two lawsuits were filed in recent days by the Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association seeking to block implementation of the assessment system.

Kicking up controversy is the system’s use of student performance on standardized tests in assessing educators’ performance. For more information on the legal action to stop the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), check out the Tribune’s coverage of the TSTA’s lawsuit here.

The ATPE noted today that a lawsuit could be brought after its appeal to the commissioner. In its statement from Monday, the ATPE concluded by expressing its hope that Morath “will take necessary steps to revise the T-TESS rules to comply with state laws, ensuring all teachers are evaluated fairly, and recommending an appraisal process that truly helps teachers improve their skills in the classroom.”


The State Preservation Board announced that on Tuesday it will begin the two-day process of making room for Gov. Rick Perry’s official portrait, set to be unveiled in the Capitol on May 6.

Why does this process take two days? The SPB is glad you asked. Here’s an excerpt from the agency’s press release today that explains the exhaustive and no doubt exhausting prep work:

“For the first time in nearly fourteen years, all 51 portraits will be moved one space to the left.  This will make room for Governor Perry’s portrait, which will be unveiled on May 6th during a brief ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. …

“Starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd ropes and stanchions will be placed at either end of that quarter of the Rotunda to provide a safe environment for staff to work. In the space to the left of the Henry Smith portrait, carpenters will drill into the masonry wall to set a dowel and install a hook for a secure placement. SPB staff will carefully remove the Smith portrait from its current location and place it on a padded table for examination and thorough dusting. Once that process is complete, the Smith portrait will be hung in its new location. Next the portrait of David G. Burnet will be shifted to the table for inspection. Once that is done, the cable on the back of the painting will be moved so that it will hang at the same height as the Smith painting. This process will be repeated at each quarter of the Rotunda for approximately two days, leaving the space ready for Governor Perry’s portrait on the first floor by Thursday, May 5th.”

Disclosure: The Texas State Teachers Association, the Association of Texas Professional Educators and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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