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
Sales Tax Holidays for Water-Efficient and ENERGY STAR® Products Set for May 25-27: Texas families and businesses can save on the purchase of certain water- and energy-efficient products during the state’s Water-Efficient Products and ENERGY STAR® sales tax holidays. Both take place Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27. Click here to read the full news release.
General Land Office:
Veteran Fundraising Art Exhibition: The Ussery Roan Texas State Veterans Home is pleased to invite the community to their art exhibition, raising funds for the Home. The fundraising event will take place Saturday, May 18th, 2019. Click here for more information.
Memorial Day Celebration: On Friday, May 24th, the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home will host a special Memorial Day event honoring those who gave their lives for our country while on active duty. Residents, family members, staff and guests will join together for a formal ceremony followed by a luncheon. Click here for more information.
Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for April 2019: The Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission) issued a total of 909 original drilling permits in April 2019 compared 1,221 in April 2018. Click here to read the full news release.
Bayport Bay Barge Collision Response: TCEQ’s Contractor SWS continued to monitor from 1800 on May 11, 2019 through May 13, 2019 at 0600 in response to the Bayport Channel Collision. Click here to read the full report.
Health and Human Safety:
PUC Orders Administrative Penalties and Refunds of $225,000: The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved, in separate dockets, three settlement agreements for $136,205.75 in administrative penalties and $88,794.25 in refunds at the Commission’s open meeting today. Click here to read the full news release.
Drug that Reverses Opioid Overdoses Now for Sale Online in Texas: As deaths from opioid overdoses continue to climb across the country, state agencies have focused on getting the life-saving medication naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, into the hands of police and emergency workers. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Crews Remove Barges Involved In Spill From Houston Ship Channel: Water quality testing teams are conducting sampling and initial results are expected to be available on Thursday. Click here to read the full Houston Public Media article.
Texas Legislature Poised For Biggest Broadband Push In State History But Still Catching Up: Senate Bill 14 is the first bill Texas’ passed on rural broadband internet in more than a decade and one of a handful of similar legislation moving towards confirmation. Click here to read the full Texas Public Radio article.
Fear Spreads Across Texas, as U.S.-China Trade War Escalates: Another round of tariffs by the Chinese government Monday sparked fears from Wall Street to the Texas farmland that an escalating trade fight between the United States and China threatened to damage the global economy. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
How the Wind Saved Starr County: A diversified tax base and a new stream of tax revenue has revived the county’s economy, and it is not just local government that has benefited: wind projects have paid millions to our school districts and other taxing jurisdictions. Click here to read the full TribTalk article.
Texas Tax Collectors Predict Another $500 Million for the State Budget: The announcement Tuesday from Comptroller Glenn Hegar came amid lawmakers’ closed-door haggling over the two-year budget, which includes funds for public schools and property tax relief. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas House Votes to Raise Legal Smoking Age to 21: The bill already passed the Senate but will require another vote in the upper chamber due to minor changes made in the House. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Our View: Fantasy Sports Clarity Long Overdue: The Texas House took a significant step earlier this week in trying to bring clarity to the issue, approving a bill that would fully legalize daily fantasy sports. Click here to read the full Lubbock Avalanche Journal article.
Texas Attorney General Proposes Fining Valero $1.3 Million for Corpus Water Contamination: The Texas General General’s Office wants to fine Valero Energy Company $1.3 million in connection with a environmental incident that contaminated Corpus Christi’s water supply and left residents without water for drinking, bathing and cooking for nearly four days. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Distributor Group on Board with Beer-to-go Sales: One of the final hurdles that Texas brewers faced in their quest to get beer-to-go sales legalized in the state has been removed, just days before a crucial vote in the Texas Senate. Click here to read the full Statesmen article.
Texas Farmers Could Begin Growing Hemp Under Legislation Gaining Steam in Both Chambers: House Bill 1325 would legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune.
Texas High-speed Rail Plans Dodge Bullet After Lawmakers Strike Provision Aiming to Delay the Project: Legal battles over whether the developer can use eminent domain still loom over the project. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas Part of National Push for Laws Promoting Fledgling Chemical Recycling Industry: The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would support a fledgling industry that aims to reduce waste by returning plastic back to its original chemical components, which can then be reused for fuels and feedstocks of new plastic products. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Trade War Could Delay LNG Projects on Gulf Coast, Analyst Says: Escalating trade tensions with China could jeopardize or delay proposed liquefied natural gas projects on the Gulf Coast by raising construction costs in the United States and prices in China, hurting the emerging industry’s competitiveness in one of the world’s biggest energy markets, analysts and economists say. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
China Puts New Tariffs on $60 Billion of U.S. Goods, and Stock Prices Reel: China is imposing new retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, days after the Trump administration said it would impose higher tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The latest tit-for-tat exchange comes as trade talks have failed to yield a deal. Click here to read the full NPR article.
U.S. Petroleum Stockpiles Surge by Nearly 15 Million Barrels: U.S. petroleum stockpiles surged by nearly 15 million barrels last week even as U.S. oil production dipped slightly and crude exports rose. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Farmers are Losing Patience with Trump’s Trade war: A recent flare-up in the US-China trade war has them panicking that much of their crops may rot for a second year in a row. Some are even worried they may lose their farms if the international spat continues much longer. Click here to read the full Vox article.
Mark Your Calendars!
Dates to Note:
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