A poll worker wipes down a station as the machines are closed for the day at Victory Houston polling station in Houston on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.
A poll worker wipes down a station as the machines are closed for the day at Victory Houston polling station in Houston on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. The location was one of the Harris County's 24-hour locations, but had to close before midnight and then restart after midnight for the next day's results. Credit: Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP

Texas Senate moves to end countywide voting on Election Day

Countywide polling locations on Election Day would be banned in Texas under a bill recently approved by the Texas Senate. Senate Bill 990, authored by Republican Sen. Bob Hall of Edgewood, passed 17-12 along party lines. The bill — if approved by the state House — would eliminate countywide voting centers on Election Day and require residents to vote at an assigned precinct, typically in their neighborhood. Larger voting centers would be permitted through early voting. Currently, 90 counties — including large metro counties like Harris and Dallas, as well as rural ones — are approved by the secretary of state’s office to use countywide voting centers on Election Day. Hall has framed the bill as necessary to address potential issues with vote counts, but Democrats who opposed the bill pressed him for any evidence that countywide polling had led to people voting at more than one location.

Houston Fire Dept giving incentives for new hires

The Houston Fire Department is hoping to get some new recruits by offering a $5,000 incentive for new cadets. The department said it has implemented a $5,000 incentive pay program that will go into effect this month and will include future HFD cadet classes through December 2024. Cadets joining the department after April will receive the incentive in two stages: Academy Start: $2,500 to be paid within the fourth month of the training period; and Completion: $2,500 to be paid during the eighth month of training or approximately two weeks before graduation. The department expects more than 500 cadets to benefit from the program.

Got Facebook? Get money

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit. All Facebook users in the United States who used the network between May 2007 and December 2022 are eligible to receive a portion of the settlement. The size of the compensation will depend on how many people file valid claims and how long each applicant used Facebook during the period covered by the complaint, although it is expected to be quite small. Facebook is accused, along with data and political consulting business Cambridge Analytica, of exchanging user data or allowing it to be accessible to third parties without users’ permission. In addition, the lawsuit claimed that Facebook did not keep tabs on how third parties used the information. According to the paper’s reporting, Cambridge Analytica exploited the data stolen from Facebook to compile detailed profiles of millions of American voters. It made it possible for the firm to provide support to former President Trump’s 2016 campaign. If a valid claimant has an active Facebook account, they will receive one point every month. Click here to submit your claim.