Gov. Abbott signs bills to reformERCOT, weatherize Texas power grid following storm
BY TRENT THOMPSON
can result in penalties of up to $1 million [per day of noncompliance],” Abbott said. “The power grid integrity is also improved to prevent essential power-generating transmission facilities from being shut down by ERCOT like what happened during the storm.” Under SB 3, the Public Utilities Commission and the Railroad Commission of Texas are tasked with weatherizing infrastructure for all seasons of the year, said state Sen. Charles Schwertner, RGeorge- town, who authored the bill, at the press conference. “They will put in place appropriate weatherization as they see t depending upon the location of the facility, whether you’re in the Panhandle or in South Texas, or whether or not you’re [in] a certain type of generation of facility or another,” Schwertner said. The bill also improves communication among state agencies and the public. A power outage alert
Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law June 8, ocially establishing sweeping reforms of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the weatherization of state power generation facilities, eective Sept. 1. The bills are designed to prevent another extreme weather event from shutting down the Texas power grid like during the severe winter storm in February. The storm left millions of houses without power for days and killed an estimated 150 Texas residents, according to a report from the Texas Department of State Health Services updated June 2. Additionally, these bills create greater account- ability within the power system, Abbott said during a press conference. “The Railroad Commission and ERCOT now must inspect power facilities, and failure to weatherize
Gov. Greg Abbott (center) signed Senate bills 2 and 3 into law June 8 in response to the winter storm in February.
systemwill notify the public in the event state power supply becomes inadequate to meet demand. In the same token, SB 2 focuses on reforming ERCOT board leadership. A selection committee will appoint eight of the board members, and all members must be residents of Texas. “There is no one sitting or standing here that does not remember that week,” said state Sen. Kelly Hancock, RDallas. “We don’t want anyone to go through that again.”
Conroe ISDputs virtual school on hold after state bill fails
LoneStar Collegeannounces 3 learningoptions for this fall
PLANS FORA VIRTUAL SCHOOL INCISDHAVEBEEN PUT ONHOLD.”
BY VANESSA HOLT
this allowed school districts to receive funding from the state for students who were attending virtually. HB
Conroe ISD began making plans for a possible virtual school this spring, including hiring a prin- cipal, but those plans are on hold after a piece of legislation did not pass at the state level. Texas House Bill 1468, which would have funded the program, did not pass in the 87th Texas Legislature, which ended May 31. “... plans for a virtual school in CISD have been put on hold,” CISD Director of Communications Sarah Blakeloch wrote in an email. “Updates will be shared as information becomes available.” During the 2020-21 school year, the Texas Education Agency counted virtual attendance, known as remote synchronous attendance, as if students were attending school in person. As a school district’s funding is tied to attendance,
BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN
Lone Star College announced plans to reopen its campuses and expand in-person oerings for students for the fall semester. According to a June 8 news release, students can choose from in-person classes, online classes, and hybrid classes that combine in person and online. “We know the last year put a serious strain on our students, faculty and sta,” LSC Chancellor Stephen Head said in the release. “Lone Star Col- lege has worked hard to ensure we provide a safe and friendly environment as we welcome everyone back to our campuses.” LSC will no longer require masks on campus but encourages social distancing and vaccination.
SARAH BLAKELOCH, CISD DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
1468 would have continued this practice of allow- ing virtual attendance to be counted for funding, but it did not pass. Without this bill’s passage, the district will not be receiving that funding for virtual students in the 2021-22 school year. CISD Superintendent Curtis Null said in an April 23 livestream that virtual schooling was dependent on if the state would allow it. Brooke Sjoberg contributed to this report.
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