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
Gubernatorial-Appointments: Governor Abbott made several appointments this week including Simmons as Chair Of Texas Mutual Insurance Company Board Of Directors and Harper to the Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority. Click here to read more.
Lt. Governor Patrick Released a Statement on the Appointment of 2020-2021 Budget Conferees: His appointees are Senate Finance Chairman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, Senator Joan Huffman, R- Houston, Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham and Senator Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville. Click here to read the full statement.
Lt. Governor Patrick Released a Statement on the Passage of Senate Bill 13: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement Wednesday following the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 13 – Ethics Reform, by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe. Click here to read the full news release.
General Land Office:
Cmr. Bush Encouraging Texans to Save this Weekend with Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday: This year’s holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 29. Click here to read more.
RRC Commissioners Assess More Than $533,000 in Penalties: The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $533,694 in fines involving 157 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ conference this week. Click here to read the full news release.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $659,061: Penalties assessed against 112 regulated entities. Click here to read the full news release.
TCEQ Makes Forbes List for Second Year Running: Agency recognized as one of United States’ top 500 mid-sized employers. Click here to read the full news release.
Public Utility Commission:
PUC Levies Administrative Penalty of $432,000: In a regularly scheduled open meeting last week, the Public Utility Commission of Texas approved a settlement agreement for $432,000 in administrative penalties. Click here to read the full news release.
Oil or Property Rights: House Panel Clashes Over Which to Favor as it Weighs Eminent Domain Reforms: Several bills meant to protect Texas landowners facing condemnation for oil pipeline construction and electric transmission projects generated heated debate on Thursday at a Capitol committee hearing. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
MJ Hegar, Former Congressional Candidate, Says She’s Running to Challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn: Hegar is running for the U.S. Senate next year. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas House Approves Plan for Digital License Plates: The House gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that sets up Texas to be the latest state to allow digital car license plates. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
SB 421 May Cause Spike in Energy Costs: Texas families, manufacturers and businesses collectively saved more than $60 billion in energy expenses between 2006 and 2016. Thanks to lower-cost, cleaner-burning natural gas production and pipelines, energy costs a lot less than it used to. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Oil Leaps to 6-month high as US vows to strangle Iran exports: West Texas Intermediate for May delivery advanced $1.91 to $65.91 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Click here to read the full Bloomberg article.
Texas Adds 22,600 Jobs in March: Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains unchanged at 3.8 percent. Click here to read the full news release.
Farmers’ Group Pushing for Transparency in Land Acquisitions: With the state’s ever-increasing infrastructure needs, Texas farmers and ranchers are bracing for the likelihood of pipelines, transmission lines and railways cutting through their fields and pastures. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Texas Broadband Bills Go To Vote This Week: More Texans than the population of San Antonio lack broadband internet access, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Click here to read the full Texas Public Radio article.
Schlumberger Execs Don’t Expect Shale Rebound in 2019: Offshore and international energy markets are making a comeback but don’t expect to see a major rebound in hydraulic fracturing or the rig count for U.S. shale drillers in 2019, Schlumberger executives said Thursday. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Texas House Votes to Legalize the Farming of Industrial Hemp: Hemp is a cousin of the marijuana plant, but it contains low levels of the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC. The House’s bill will now go to the Senate. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas House Advances Resolution to Allow Texans to Vote on Daylight Saving time: The Texas House passed a resolution that would scrap twice-a-year time changes and ask voters decide the future of “Texas Time.” Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Could Texas High-Speed Rail Hit a Speed Bump this Session?: Lawmakers are pushing more measures than ever before that could delay the Dallas-Houston bullet train project — and there’s even a special subcommittee tackling the topic. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
“This is Freedom”: Texas House Moves to Expand Alcohol Sales on Sundays and at Breweries: The House approved the changes in amendments to a broader bill about the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s operations. The Senate still could strip the changes from the bill. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Supreme Court Appears to Lean Toward Allowing Census Citizenship Question: The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court appear split along ideological lines on whether a citizenship question can be included on forms for the upcoming 2020 census. Click here to read the full NPR article.
Handful of US States are Poised to Legalize Sports Betting: Governors in Montana and Iowa are considering measures that would allow residents to wager on sports, while Indiana lawmakers are scheduled to approve their own version as early as Wednesday. Click here to read the full RiverBend.com article.
Joe Biden Announces 2020 Run for President: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced Thursday that he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020. Click here to read the full New York Times article. Click here for a full list of candidates so far.
Mark Your Calendars!
Dates to Note:
May 2, 2019: National Day of Prayer
May 3-5th, 2019: Go Wheels Up Auto and Air Show
May 6 - 9, 2019: Offshore Technology Conference
May 9, 2019: Last Day for House to Consider 2nd Reading HB’s on Daily or Supplemental Calendar
May 17th, 2019: Last Day for House to Consider Local HB’s on 2nd and 3rd Reading
May 18, 2019: Last Day for House Committees to Report SB’s
May 21, 2019: Last Day for House to Consider 2nd Reading SB’s
May 22, 2019: Last Day for House to Consider Local and Consent SB’s and ALL 3rd Reading SB’s on Supplemental Calendar AND Last Day for Senate to Consider ALL Bills & JR’s on 2nd or 3rd Reading
May 24, 2019: Last Day for House to Act on Senate Amendments
May 26, 2019: Last Day for House to Adopt CCR’s or Discharge House Conferees and Concur in Senate Amendments AND Last Day for Senate to Concur in House Amendments or Adopt CCRs
May 27, 2019: Last Day of 86th Legislature (Sine Die) Corrections Only in House and Senate
June 16, 2019: Last Day for Governor to Act on Bills
September 16, 2019 to September 20, 2019: Energy Trade Mission to Israel 2019
September 26 - 28, 2019: The Texas Tribune Festival