Saturday, July 31, 2021


Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Cruise Ships and COVID: Know Before You Go


Tuesday, June 15, 2021   

HOUSTON -- To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a pending dilemma for passengers expecting to be welcomed aboard a cruise ship as the industry prepares a post-pandemic restart.

The Port of Galveston is the country's fourth-busiest, employing around 30,000 people. At the same time, new laws in Texas and Florida state you cannot be required to show proof of vaccination to any Texas business, including cruise personnel.

Dietrich von Biedenfeld, assistant professor in business law at the University of Houston-Downtown, expected to see some businesses offer rewards or incentives to customers who are vaccinated as they attempt to protect their economic interests.

"Republican governors are actually taking away that economy from these private actors by telling them, 'We know better than you do what your business model should be and how to do that,'" von Biedenfeld explained.

Last week, two passengers aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19. The Carnival Cruise Line expects to resume cruises from Galveston in the next few weeks, and will require vaccines of all passengers. Other cruise lines have said they may "strongly recommend" vaccinations, but not require them.

Von Bielefeld pointed out people waiting for their ship to launch typically spend money on hotels, restaurants and rental cars, and worried the Galveston economy could be hurt by Texas not requiring proof of vaccinations if cruise-goers with health conditions or a compromised immune system go elsewhere.

"We've heard the phrase, 'floating petri dish,'" von Bielefeld remarked. "It's not a very flattering term for cruise ships, because individuals are isolated, so there are other ports of entry in the United States for cruise lines, so you might take a cruise ship out of another state."

Ahead of the pandemic, cruise-ship embarkations in Galveston increased almost 11% in 2019, cracking the one million mark for the first time, according to a study from the Cruise Line International Association.

get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)


LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …

Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Social Issues

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- With many Virginians still experiencing pandemic-related unemployment, students at a state community college were able to get …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021