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Deadline to hit for disaster aid applications

Deadline to hit for disaster aid applications

HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN — Texans applying for federal funds for housing repairs and reimbursements relating to Hurricane Harvey damages face an important deadline. The Texas General Land Office on Dec. 16 encouraged applicants for the Homeowner Assistance Program and Homeowner Reimbursement Program to submit applications before Dec. 31. Some $1.3 billion has been set aside in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grants for disaster recovery funding. The money is to be used for rehabilitation and reconstruction of thousands of owner-occupied single-family homes in 48 counties that were damaged by Harvey in 2017. The General Land Office reported it has approved nearly 2,000 applications for construction, with more than 700 homes currently under construction and nearly 400 homes completed. The Homeowner Reimbursement Program has reimbursed nearly 1,000 applicants for more than $30 million. More than 4,000 applications are undergoing eligibility review and more than 4,100 applications remain in the draft stage under the Homeowner Assistance Program. The Homeowner Reimbursement program has more than 7,500 applications in draft status and an estimated 2,300 undergoing eligibility review Surprise billing: Waiver The Texas Department of Insurance last week adopted a rule outlining a narrow exception to the state’s new surprise billing protections relating to health care services provided on or after Jan. 1. Senate Bill 1264, passed during the 2019 regular session of the Texas Legislature, is intended to protect consumers with state-regulated health plans — about 16% of Texans — from surprise bills in emergencies and in cases where the consumer had no choice of providers. The legislation carves out a narrow exception when a consumer chooses an out-of-network doctor or provider at an in-network facility. The Texas Department of Insurance, which has rule-making authority, said the rule was adopted on an emergency basis, and the next step is for the rule to go through the normal rule-making process, allowing time to accept and consider public comments. AG addresses report Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Dec. 18 released a statement in response to the United Kingdom's assessment of tech giant Google's market power. The assessment relates to the Online Platforms and Digital Advertising Market Study Interim Report conducted by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Paxton said, “The CMA, like many other competition authorities around the world, including the Texas-led, multi-state bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general, is examining the dominance and conduct of tech giant Google in online markets and I applaud those efforts." Paxton said the report reflects ...

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