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After the Winter Storm
After an unprecedentedly challenging 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, families were again confronted with difficult conditions as Texans navigated the winter storm. Businesses and households were unable to operate without reliable electricity and utilities for days (and some still are without power or water). As most power has been back to near normal levels, Texans deserve answers for how we got here and how this could have been avoided.

I have always fought to make Texas safer, and to protect our children, families and elderly, especially in rural areas where access to resources and medical professionals is usually limited. All of these groups have been severely impacted by the recent failings of the Texas power grid and difficulties experienced with water availability. We all deserve not just answers but accountability from those who serve in the leadership of organizations like ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), our nonprofit grid operator, and the PUC (Public Utility Commission). I look forward to ensuring that accountability and joined with Speaker Dade Phelan and Texas House Leadership in seeking immediate hearings on these electricity blackouts.  Governor Abbott has also announced that ERCOT reform is an emergency item for the Texas Legislature, meaning that we have no procedural hurdles in figuring out what went wrong and taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that it won’t happen again. 

Just like we deserve answers, our first responders across the state — including law enforcement, fire departments, utility repairmen, and the Texas Department of Emergency Management — deserve our thanks and appreciation. They have saved lives, helped friends and strangers, and continue to do so even after the storm has passed.

My office continues to receive hundreds of calls from constituents in need of help or who want to share their experiences. Please know that I and my staff hear you, and we are doing everything within our power to be of assistance. Together we must all look to the future, thoroughly assess our policies and procedures, and take detailed and methodical steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.  I’ve always been amazed at rural Texas’s ability to come together during times of crisis.  We are persistent and will persevere.
Federal Disaster Declaration
President Biden recently issued a Disaster Declaration eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to only 108 of the 254 counties in Texas - although extensive damage extends into every county throughout the state. Only 1 county out of the 12 counties I represent were listed in this recent declaration and I have joined with local and federal elected officials from our area to advocate for the immediate inclusion of Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Menard, Real, Schleicher, and Sutton counties, so that residents can seek individual relief. 

Please see below for information on the two processes to report your property damage from this storm, this information is vital and is used by the Texas Division on Emergency Management (TDEM) to make the case for the Federal government to extend the declaration to all 254 counties. 

If you are located in one of the 108 counties currently included in the Federal Disaster Declaration:
  • Please visit disasterassistance.gov for instructions on how to properly record your damage and to see what financial assistance and remedies may be available;
  • This website also has a list of the counties in Texas that are included in this declaration;
  • Once you determine that you live in an eligible county, contact your insurance company if you have insurance before FEMA as your insurance claim information will be needed to determine eligibility for federal assistance;
  • In preparation to file your claim with FEMA: take photos of your damaged home and belongings and make a list of damaged items;
  • Additionally, be prepared to provide your current phone number, address at the time of the disaster and the address of where you are staying, your social security number, your insurance policy number or agent and company name;
  • You will also need to provide FEMA with the additional documents: insurance determination letter, proof of occupancy or ownership, and proof of ID;
  • When applying online, be sure to select the cause of the damages as snow/ice among other damages that may have occurred. 
***If you are located in one of the 146 counties NOT included in the Federal Disaster Declaration but would like to report your property damage, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) urges you to: Please know we are continuing to fight to allow all Texans to be eligible for disaster assistance and on February 22, 2021, 27 Texas congressional members wrote a letter to President Biden again urging him to extend the Federal Disaster Declaration to ALL 254 counties. That letter can be found here.
Insurance Claims
Do you have damage from a pipe burst or fallen tree limb? Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is here to provide assistance to those who were affected by the storm.

TDI can provide contact information for your insurance company or help with questions about how to file a claim. The TDI helpline is open from 8 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday and they can be reached at 800-252-3439.
  • Keep a record of everyone you talked to with your company.
  • Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
  • Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly.
  • Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of the costs you have if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep your receipts for these costs.
  • If you need shelter or emergency food or water, contact the Red Cross at 800-733-2767.
 Tips to avoid fraud:
  • Get more than one bid. That will help you decide which offers are too high or too good to be true.
  • Check references and phone numbers. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if a contractor has complaints.
  • Don't pay up front and don’t make your final payment until the job is finished. In a disaster, contractors from outside your area can’t ask for payment before they start work.
  • Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it. That’s illegal under state law and your insurance company may ask for proof that you paid it.
  • Never sign a contract with blank spaces.
  • Report possible price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General.
Hay Hotline
ATTENTION FARMERS AND RANCHERS:
Are you in need of hay for your livestock after the recent Winter Storm? The Texas Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline provides an online marketplace for hay buyers and sellers, and can even help locate grazing land for lease. By partnering with other agencies like the Texas Animal Health Commission and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the TDA Hay Hotline is a critical disaster relief tool for Texas farmers and ranchers. To access the Hay Hotline website, please click here
Republican Andrew Murr is proud to represent Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton Counties in the Texas House of Representatives.  
Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Room E1.308
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Phone (512) 463-0536


District Address:
507 Earl Garrett
Kerrville, Texas 78028
Phone (830) 257-0432
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Copyright © 2021 State Representative Andrew Murr, All rights reserved.
Political Ad Paid by the Andrew Murr Campaign. Not produced or paid for at taxpayer expense.
Our mailing address is:
 Andrew Murr Campaign
PO Box 125
Junction, TX  76849

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