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Gov. Greg Abbott has called a third special legislative session to deal with redistricting, to decide how to spend billions of dollars in pandemic funding from the federal government and to determine to whether state or local governments can mandate COVID-19 vaccines, as well as some pet issues of the governor that failed to pass recent sessions.

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Gov. Greg Abbott officially signed an elections bill into law Tuesday in Tyler that will add new rules for mail-in voting, increase early voting hours and according to him, make it harder for people to cheat. 

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As a state law goes into effect Wednesday removing the license requirement to carry a handgun, local law enforcement officials said Monday their departments will continue to respond to criminal activity as normal and expect minimal changes. 

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Families with students relying on free or reduced-cost meals at school can now receive a single payment of $375 as a part of a summer round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) food aid, which has previously provided single payments of up to $1,200 for eligible students.

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Anyone who owns livestock in Texas, including horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, fowl and honey bees in a managed colony, need to be aware of key changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act that will be effective Sept. 1, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural law expert.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

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Former Texas Republican Party Chairman Lt. Col. Allen West, who is challenging Gov. Greg Abbott in the 2022 primary, came to Tyler Tuesday night to share his campaign platform, including his stances on border security and medical freedom. 

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COVID-19 cases have been surging in Texas and nationally — mostly among unvaccinated people — as the highly contagious delta variant has become dominant. While dozens of variants have spawned from the original COVID-19 virus, health experts say the delta variant is the most transmissible so far. Research also shows it’s leading to higher rates of hospitalization for those infected.

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WASHINGTON — Texas Democrats slipped out of the state 10 days ago because they were out of options back home, powerless to stop the Republican majority in the Legislature from passing its priority voting bill. With Gov. Greg Abbott committing to call more special sessions until the legislation is passed, Democrats have said they’re pinning their hopes on Congress to take action to block the attempts to restrict voting access.

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The number of people in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined more than 28 percent in the past month, according to the Texas Department of Health Services. As of Feb. 7, Texas hospitals were treating 9,957 COVID-19 patients, down from nearly 14,000 a month ago. The number of new cases in the past week was 123,239 — a 22 percent drop from the record high of 158,922 the week of Jan. 10, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.