Stalwart Strategies is pleased to offer you an easy-to-navigate brief of the week’s activity inside state government, noteworthy items for the upcoming week, and other important news.
News In State Government
Governor Abbott Holds Joint Press Conference With Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen: Governor Greg Abbott held a joint press conference with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen at the Governor’s Mansion. Click here to read the details of that joint press conference.
APPOINTMENTS: Governor Abbott made several appointments this week such as: Phillips To Judicial Districts Board and Ten To Texas Industrialized Building Code Council. Click here to see a full list of gubernatorial-appointments from this week.
Abbott Issues Statement on Biennial Revenue Estimate: Governor Greg Abbott released a statement on Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s biennial revenue estimate. Click here to read that statement.
Governor Greg Abbott Set Special Elections: Governor Abbott ordered special elections to be held in the Texas State House of Representatives District No. 125, to replace Justin Rodriguez on February 12 and in Districts 145, to replace Carol Alvarado, and 79, to replace Joe Pickett, which will both be held on January 29. Click here to see all gubernatorial-proclamations from this week.
AG Paxton Joins President Trump in McAllen at Roundtable on Border Security: Attorney General Ken Paxton joined President Trump, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in McAllen for a roundtable on immigration and border security. Click here to read the full news release.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Releases Biennial Revenue Estimate:Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE), showing the state is projected to have approximately $119.1 billion in revenue available for general-purpose spending during the 2020-21 biennium. Click here to read that full news release.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar Distributes $735 Million in Monthly Sales Tax Revenue to Local Governments: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $734.7 million in local sales tax allocations for January, 3.6 percent more than in January 2018. Click here to read the full news release.
Sales Tax Revenue Totaled $2.9 Billion in December: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.87 billion in December, 4.7 percent more than in December 2017. Click here to read the full report.
Dennis Bonnen Elected Unanimously: 147 “ayes”, record vote was requested by Rep. Stickland. Click here to read the full Quorum Report article.
Secretary of State:
Secretary Whitley Convenes The 86th Texas Legislature: “Today, the people of Texas put trust in you to secure the prosperous future that Texas has always, and will always, deserve.” Whitley stated. Click here to read the full news release.
General Land Office:
Coastal Texas Study Public Comment Period Extended Despite Government Shutdown: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the public comment period for the coastal Texas Study has been extended for an additional 30 days, undeterred by the continuing government shutdown. Click here to read the full news release.
Chairman Craddick Announces Staff Changes: Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick announced Jason Modglin as the new Director of Public Affairs for the Chairman’s office. Click here to read the full news release.
Looking Ahead to the New Year: TCEQ identified five recommendations to legislators that will help the agency expedite air permits, solidify the TCEQ’s enforcement authority, give the executive director authority to approve uncontested district matters, and establish more effective ways of informing and communicating with interested parties about hearings for proposed air quality rules. Click here to read the full news release.
The EPA has Signed the Final Rule for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals: Once this new pharmaceutical rule becomes effective, Texas healthcare facilities will be prohibited from disposing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals into sewer systems. Click here to read the full TCEQ article.
Texas Groundwater Protection Agency Report to 86th Legislature: click here to see a copy of the full report.
Everything You Need to Know About the First Day of the Texas Legislature: The 140-day sprint to the finish line began on Tuesday, when state lawmakers convened in Austin for the Texas Legislature’s 86th regular session. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas House Adopts Rules: With little debate, the Texas House today adopted a housekeeping resolution and a set of rules that will govern the chamber for the next two years. Click here to read the full article from Texas Tribune’s The Blast.
Largest Energy Storage Project in Texas Now in Operation: Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, recently announced that its Upton 2 battery energy storage system project has finished construction and began operating Dec. 31, 2018. Click here to read the full Energy Manager Today article.
Former Texas HHSC Executive Commissioner Named Acting Director for Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services: Chris Traylor’s new position comes after joining the federal government in July as deputy administrator for strategic initiatives at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas Lawmakers Will Have $9B More for Next Two-Year Budget, Comptroller Says: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is predicting 8 percent growth in the state’s tax collections over the next two years, giving hope to lawmakers eager to tackle high-cost plans to reform school finance and offer property tax relief. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Texas House Leader-to-be Dennis Bonnen is Aggressive, Colorful - and Has a lot of Different People to Please: Bonnen, who was first elected to the House in 1996 at the age of 24, will face daunting tasks as he takes the speaker’s gavel. Click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.
Beer to-go? Texas Breweries Hope State Legislature Will Legalize It: Texas is the only state in the country that prohibits some breweries from selling six-packs, bottles and growlers of beer to-go, but a pair of bills filed for consideration during the 86th legislative session aim to change that. Click here to read the full Guide Live article.
Permian Basin Goes Corporate: At one point in 2008, U.S. oil production fell to its all-time low of about 3.8 million barrels a day. Today, the Permian Basin alone produces 3.8 million. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Government Shutdown 2019: Sen. Kamala Harris insisted Thursday that the ongoing government shutdown, now in its 20th day, “will not end with a wall,” ruling out the border security measure that President Donald Trump has demanded as a prerequisite for his signature on any government funding legislation. Click here to read the full Politico article and updates.
Mexico’s President to Raise Pay, Boost Economy Along Border so Residents Will Have No Reason to Cross into U.S.: The minimum wage for Mexican border residents will double and gasoline prices will be set on a par with those in the U.S. as part of an ambitious plan by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to stimulate the economy. Click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.