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tv   Governor Abbott News Conference  CSPAN  May 27, 2022 10:24pm-11:00pm EDT

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> now texas governor greg abbott updates reporters on the investigation into the massacre at rob elementary school in uvalde texas. he said he was misled about the response of local police and he is absolutely livid about it. this is 35 minutes. >> one thing i must emphasize. that is, we are going through short-term challenges right now. the reality is many of the challenges will be long-term challenges. texas stands with who validly -- you validly -- uvalde, to help every single citizen feel as much as they possibly can. we will be heroes long as it
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takes. among other things, i know there have been offerings to ensure the cost of funerals will be taken care of. during the course of a meeting, there was an anonymous donor who attended the meeting and provided $175,000 to ensure every cost of every family concerning everything about the funeral services will be taken care of. we appreciate that anonymous donor for his generosity and we will ensure those resources get into the right hands to make sure that no family who is suffering from incalculable heartbreak at this time will have to worry about a single cost with regard to anything concerning this travesty. in addition to that, there are all kinds of needs as well as
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all kinds of services. one of the needs is the need for mental health care and we have an abundance of mental health care services we will be able to provide. that includes state and private providers that will be providing mental health assistance to anyone in the community who needs it. when i say anyone, that means the totality of anybody who lives in this community. we believe you would benefit from mental health care services. those services are free. we just want you to ask for them. the way you can ask for them, whether it be today, tomorrow, next month or next year is this number. 8886 900799. mental health care can be reached by calling 8886 900799.
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that helpline will be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whenever you need it. in addition to that, i am announcing the establishment of the one star foundation fund to assist with ongoing challenges faced by the victim of this crime. to put this into perspective, we opened up a fund like this in the aftermath of hurricane harvey to assist all of the thousands of victims of hurricane artery -- harvey and received millions in support that went to those who faced challenges because of hurricane harvey. the same thing applies here. right here is the address. it is if you go to that website,
10:28 pm uvalde, there is no overhead cost. 100% of the money you donate will be going directly to victims of this horrible crime to help them with their lives. one of the donations will be going to the rob school memorial fund. again, onestarfoundation .org/uvalde to help the people in this community that are suffering in incalculable ways. in addition we set up a central headquarters for victim services located at the uvalde county
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fair plaques. as will be discussed momentarily, there may be a relocation of the site and we will keep everyone fully informed about where the relocation site will be. every family impacted by the shooting has been assigned an advocate to help with their needs. among other things, there will be airfare for example to provide victims' families with flights free of charge so that they can get here and be with family members. the family assistance center will cover the travel and lodging cost of and health care costs to families impacted by this tragedy will also be covered by texas insurance companies and donations. the texas department of housing and community affairs, they have a fund to pay for needed
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supplies, whether it be food or gas or other essential needs. and that money is available right now, as we speak. also at the family assistance center, the health and human services commission will offer services. the teacher retirement system, the employees retirement system will provide access to benefits including worker compensation. the texas workforce commission staff is available to get family childcare and unemployment benefits and state staff are available to provide assistance to business owners impacted by this tragedy. healing the broken hearts is going to take a long time. but through the generosity of fellow texans and neighbors helping neighbors, we can begin to stitch back together the fabric of uvalde.
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helping us to do that is the leader of uvalde, the mayor of uvalde, who i would like to ask to speak. >> thank you for bringing these state agencies, and the services you have offered our community. these families are going to need this help, not just today, but in the long term. for that, governor, i appreciate it. i have seen you these last two days, and the compassion you felt along with these families, i really admire it. thank you. we appreciate everybody from all over the world at the country who have sent messages of encouragement and so forth. our hearts are broken here in uvalde. nobody ever wants to go through this, especially as a mayor, i never thought this was something i would have to go through.
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my heart is broken for these families. but the one good thing about our community is, uvalde is a strong community. if you have been here long enough, you will see a lot of unity in our community. and it will come back, but will get over this and uvalde will come back stronger than ever. thank you and god bless you. gov. abbott: thank you. somebody who has been helping victims of crime already and will remain engaged is district attorney christina mitchell. >> thank you, governor. we want to thank everybody who has reached out to us on uvalde from across the state come of the country and across the world. we greatly apprai -- greatly appreciate the kind words and assistance. here in uvalde county, we are salt of the earth people and are a family. like a family, we are going to get through this together, with
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each other and for each other, and we are asking everybody across the world to continue to support us. i, the district attorney along with the fbi victim assistance people, dps victim assistance people, the attorney general's office, we have set up a family system center at the fair plex here in uvalde. that center is a one-stop shop for all victims, and everybody associated with robb elementary school. when you come, you are going to meet with a counselor and all the services the state has to offer -- funeral services, luke crossed/blue shield, the mexican consulate, the red cross. -- blue cross/blue shield, the mexican consulate, the red cross. and if you need something, let me know and we will find it for you. it will be open from june 1 from five octets from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m..
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there is also food there and a play center for children. please come and see is, any victims anybody that needs help, please come there. it is a resource for anybody. there is also a victims resource center at the civic center that is run by the school district for anybody affected in the school district. they have services there. we thank everybody. we appreciate your support. please, keep our victims in your prayers, the families of the deceased children and schoolteachers, and keep us strong. thank you. gov. abbott: now, i am calling the leaders of seven state agencies to give you a brief explanation of what their agency does. more than seven are involved in the process, but we are calling up these seven. first is the health and human services commissioner, cecily young. >> i am cecily young, executive commissioner at the health and
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human services commission. we do medicaid and have eligibility assistance at the family assistance center available and will continue to have eligibility assistance available on an ongoing basis once we move into the next phase of this. additionally, we have an 888 number for mental health services, 888-690-0799. this is run by hill country local mental health authority. it is local, it is 24 hours, seven days a week, i'll call center that is able to connect people with services, counseling, medication, tele health services and psychiatric services. and they will insure that anybody from the community will be connected to available mental
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health services. it is a way to triage to make it as easy as possible. gov. abbott: next is the texas department of insurance commissioner, kathy brown. >> i am kathy brown, commissioner of insurance for the texas department of insurance. tdi is here to ensure that insurance companies are quickly handling claims. what our department does is oversee health insurance as well as worker's compensation insurance claims. if you are a private sector employee, i am sorry, if you are a public sector employee, employed by the school district, or the first responders, they are going to have workers compensation coverage. private sector employees should check with their employer to see if they carry workers comp. workers comp covers mental illness and ptsd.
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please make sure you are taking advantage of that benefit. we have staff available at the fair plex center to help you start the process for your workers compensation claims and to explain all the benefits available to you. governor abbott: from the teachers retirement system, brian guthrie. >> my name is brian guthrie, executive director of the teacher retirement system of texas. we are here today to not only help the families of the teachers who tragically lost their lives and provide benefits they are due, but also to help all the employees of not only this school district, but the surrounding school districts, to make sure they have access to mental health and behavioral health services. we recognize that not all the
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employees of these districts are members of our system and health care program, but we thank our partners, blue cross/lou shield to extend it -- for extending those benefits. thank you. gov. abbott: from the texas employees retirement system, porter wilson. >> i am porter wilson, executive director director of the employees retirement system of texas. we provide benefits to state employees, but also employees of higher education in the community, so local community college employees will get health insurance provided by blue cross/lou shield of texas. we activated a 24-hour crisis hotline to connect medical and mental health services. we have that information available on the flyer. gov. abbott: thank you. from the texas workforce
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commission, ed serna. >> i am the executive director of the texas workforce commission. the commission has a local presence on main street and through that office, we provide childcare services for not only the families of the victims, but also anyone associated with the school, or first responders. we will also looked to protect any snap benefits an individual is receiving, so that they don't lose those benefits because they are unable to work or continue their training. we will also assist with anyone needing priority concerning an employment insurance, or businesses that need assistance during this time. we are available locally, and are also at the assistance center as well. iq. -- thank you. gov. abbott: now, the head of the tdhca.
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>> i am bobby wilkinson, executive director of the texas department of housing and community affairs. we have a pot of grant funding that we are funding the council of health in central texas. they have a field office at the family assistance center and are already passing out grocery and gas cards, lodging expenses, may be family is here who needs help with asked or lodging, etc. we are looking forward to helping as many people as we can. thank you. gov. abbott: last is the head of the texas education agency, mike moran. >> thank you. gea has been working in close coordination with the school system. -- tea has been working in
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close coordination with the school system. i say thank you for other work our educators have done. we provide grant funds, supplemental counseling services provided around-the-clock since this began, and we will continue to provide support as the school district prepares for the summer and this fall. gov. abbott: whether it be the services you heard about -- there are many more than we talked about -- the state of texas has robust resources to ensure that these families who have been devastated by this horrific crime, as well as the entire community, we will be able to help them with any and all of their needs. i cannot emphasize enough that everybody -- students, teachers, law enforcement, everybody in this community -- please avail yourself of free
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mental health care. it will pay off in the long run. i will take a few questions. go ahead. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: i will directly answer your questions. before i start answering questions unrelated to the discussion about benefits to the community, let's take those questions first and i will come back to you first. go ahead. gov. abbott: [indiscernible] either this year or early next year [indiscernible]
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gov. abbott: let me make clear, maybe i wasn't clear, before i start taking questions unrelated to the benefits we are providing to the community, we have an obligation as a state to communicate to the people of this community the benefits available to them. their lives are crossed. they have no idea what is going on. they may have no idea whatsoever how they are going to pay a bill. let me give you an easy example of something that was explained to me. a parent lost some glasses that were crushed and everything that happened, and he told someone he had no money to pay for it. we have money to pay for that stuff. there are people who have no idea about acting. we have money that can buy them food. if you have any questions about these benefits, let's discuss. if you don't, that is fine. >> for three days, this
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community hazard different versions of stories. today, we learned 19 officers [indiscernible] gov. abbott: sure. and i am going to be answering that. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: no, i am going to fully answer because that is what he asked and i told him i was going to answer his question first. hold on. is there anybody here who has any question about the benefits that are being provided to anybody who suffered because of this crime? all right. let me answer your question. your question. i remember it.
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the short answer -- yes, i was misled. i am livid about what happened. i was on this very stage two days ago, and i was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room a few yards behind where we are looking right now. i wrote down hand notes in detail about what everybody in that room told me, in sequential order, about what happened. and when i came out here on this stage and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what people told me, whether it be law-enforcement or nonlaw enforcement officials, whatever the case. and as everybody has learned, the information that i was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate. and i am absolutely livid about
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that. here is my expectation. my expectation is that the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigations, which include the texas rangers and the fbi which includes the , that they get to the facts. those are families whose lives have been destroyed. they need answers that are accurate. and it is inexcusable that they may have suffered from any inaccurate information whatsoever. and it is imperative that the leaders of the investigations about exactly what happened get down to the very second of exactly what happened, with 100% accuracy, and explain it to the public, but most importantly, to
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the victims who have been devastated. [reporters shafting questions] reporter: do you support a ban on [indiscernible] ? gov. abbott: he had a backup question. i am coming to you next. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: my expectation is that, as we speak and every minute going forward, law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by doing exactly what they are supposed to do from this point on. and that is making sure that they thoroughly, exhaustively investigate exactly what happened and explain to you in the public and the victims of the crime exactly what happened. i told this guy i was coming to him next.
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reporter: we are all wondering if you are going to call a special session? [indiscernible] for example, will you will that -- will you roll back of the liberalizations that you made? [indiscernible] -- never had a gun before. gov. abbott: your second question, you talked about the rollback of any legislation. let's be clear. none of the laws i signed in this past session had any intersection with this crime at all. no law that i signed allowed him to get a gun, the gun that he did get.
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there was nothing about the laws from this past session that has any relevancy to the crime that occurred. with regards to a special session, all options are on the table. and second, do we expect laws to come out of this devastating crime? absolutely yes. and there will be laws in multiple subject areas. for example, i fully expect to have every law that we passed in the aftermath of the santa fe shooting to be revisited. first, we need to gain information about what happened at the school to find out to what extent those laws were complied with and not comply with to find out what shortcomings allow this travesty to occur. secondly, we need a discussion of passed laws to make sure our schools are safer. the people of uvalde and the
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people of texas deserve that. second, you can expect robust discussion and my hope is, laws passed that i will sign, addressing health care in the state. there is an array of health care issues that we face as a stage, but there are an array of health care issues that relate to those who commit crimes in particular. those need to be addressed, whether it be the health care issues i talked about with the mayor here about two days ago that would affect the community in general, or whether it be laws that address the challenges that are now surfacing that this killer had in his life, that lead to someone doing what he did. and then, there will be all kinds of other issues. there will be committees formed. there will be meetings held. there will be proposals that
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will be derived, many of which will lead to laws being passed in the state of texas. let me make one thing perfectly clear. the status quote was unacceptable. this crime is unacceptable. we are not going to be here talking about it, and do nothing about it. we will be looking for the best laws we can pass to make our communities and schools safer. [reporters shouting questions] go ahead. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: let's be clear
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about a couple of things that show that these background checks -- if everyone wants to seize on a particular strategy, that is the golden strategy right there. look at the santa fe shooting, a background check out no relevancy whatsoever because the killer took the gun from his parents. look at what happened in sullivan springs. there was a background check that was done. it was done in a floodway that allowed the killer to get a gun -- done in a flawed way that allowed the killer to get a gun. anyone suggests we should focus on background checks as opposed to mental health, i suggest you are mistaken. if anyone thinks we have perfect health care in this world, they are wrong. if anybody things we can do more to address mental health care, they are wrong. we can add we are going to. go ahead.
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yes. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: what i have been told about that is several things. what is that this is an ongoing investigation and there have been facts and information surfacing, revealed as a result of that investigation that are different today than they were two days ago. second, there will be investigations that detail who knew what, when, who was in charge of what strategy, why was that strategy employed, why were
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other strategies not employed, the bottom line would be, why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there, eliminate the killer and rescue the children? [reporters shafting questions] reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: tony, how are you doing, man? reporter: [indiscernible] an 18-year-old being able to buy and ar-15? gov. abbott: it is my understanding that ever since texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has had the ability to buy a long gone, a rifle --
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long gun, a rifle. since that time, it seems it has only been in the past decade or two that we have at school shootings. so, for a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles. and we didn't have school shootings. but we do now. maybe we are focusing our attention on the wrong thing. reporter: [indiscernible] will that change, i am asking you now, because of the impact of the shooting? i apologize. [indiscernible]
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gov. abbott: next question. [people yelling] i can't hear you. speak up. reporter: [indiscernible] gov. abbott: i was unable to hear the first part of your question, will you restate it? reporter: [indiscernible]
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gov. abbott: ok. so, every act by every official involved in this process is under the investigations conducted by both texas rangers and the fbi. every act of all of those officials will be known and identified and explained to the public. but i cannot over emphasize enough -- over-emphasize enough, we need to get that information to the families of these victims, who deserved to know the most. as far as his employment status is concerned, that is beyond my control and something i have no knowledge about. reporter: [inaudible]
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>> as the governor said, i am not in law enforcement. i am the mayor of the city. and once we know what took place , we will get to the bottom of it. i have been just as confused as you are, as the governor was, because i got the same information that the governor got. i was blown away this morning by other information. i don't have an answer for you but i can tell you, if we need to make changes in that, we will . >> c-span's washington journal.
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every day we take your calls live on the are on the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact you. 70 morning, we talk about the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in texas with amy klinger, and jeff daly, cohost of a podcast who talks about veterans issues. washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern saturday morning on c-span, c-span now, our free mobile video app. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts and tweets. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more, including comcast. >> did you think this was more than a community center? no, it is way more than that. >> comcast is partnering with 1000 community centers so that
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