NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Texas Deploys Resources to Louisiana to Assist with Disaster Response: Governor Greg Abbott today offered assistance to Louisiana in response to Tropical Storm Barry, which is expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Click here to read the full press release and the list of resources that were provided.
Texas Comptroller’s Office Wins National Communications Award: The Texas Comptroller’s office recently won first place at the National Association of Government Communicators’ (NAGC) Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards for its February 2018 edition of Fiscal Notes: A Storm to Remember — Hurricane Harvey and the Texas Economy.Click here to read the full press release.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $339,183: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $249,568 against 28 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. In addition, on July 9, the executive director approved penalties totaling $89,615 against 39 entities. Click here to read the full news release.
Health and Human Services:
Effort Will Provide Specialized Mental Health Care: Texas veterans in need of inpatient psychiatric care will soon have their own space at Terrell State Hospital, where a 20-bed specialized care unit is opening this month. Click here to read the full news release.
HHSC, UTHealth Break Ground on Continuum of Care Campus: HHSC, in partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, broke ground on the new UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health on June 26. Click here to read the full news release.
Parks and Wildlife:
New Season Dates and Regulation Changes: As season opener dates approach in September (Dove), Texas Parks and Wildlife thought it would be good to summarize and refresh everyone on season dates as well as update you on regulation changes for migratory birds and antlerless deer. Click here to see a full list of seasons listed by animal and category.
**Gov. Abbott Hauls in Two $1M Checks in Texas, Land of Unlimited Political Giving:Two donors each cut Republican Gov. Greg Abbott a check for $1 million, showcasing the wild west of Texas campaign finance law that puts no limits on political giving. The money came from Midland Energy president S. Javaid Anwar and Michael and Mary Porter, who own Cross Creek Ranch, according to campaign finance reports. [Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article**](https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/local/politics/article/Two-1M-checks-for-Gov-Abbott-are-allowed-in-14099229.php).
Vistra Closes Deal to Buy Rival: Vistra Energy, the Irving-based power company, announced it completed its purchase of onetime rival Crius Energy, the Connecticut retail power seller, in a deal that will make Vistra the nation’s biggest seller of residential electricity and expand its market share in Texas as the industry continues to consolidate.Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Houston Oil Executive Gets 18 Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors: A Houston oil executive was sentenced to state prison for defrauding investors who thought they were paying for the drilling and testing of wells – but instead paid the executive’s mortgage. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
West Texas’ Permian Leads Rig Count Drop: Another sign that activity in the booming Permian Basin has at least plateaued for now, the prolific basin in West Texas lost six active drilling rigs last week. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
**At Energy Summit, Speakers say Electric Vehicles Will Become Mainstream Soon:U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point, hosted the 14th annual Energy Summit and Fair on Saturday morning at the University of North Texas’ Discovery Park. Leaders and experts showcased energy-efficient technology and showed residents how they can conserve energy. [Click here to read the full Denton Record-Chronicle article**](https://dentonrc.com/news/at-energy-summit-speakers-say-electric-vehicles-will-become-mainstream/article_6e8e455d-324d-5608-833e-dc3fc71f4a89.html).
Petrochemical Industry has Five Years to Prepare for Bust: Big booms and bracing busts are defining features of the oil and gas business, but rarely do experts give us a five-year warning to get ahead of the cycle. Subscribers can click here to read the full article.
**Boom or Bust, Fracking is Permanently Changing Texas and Undercutting OPEC:Stock investors are souring on the oil and gas industry as oil prices have declined. For an industry whose fortunes are bound to the cycles of economic growth and the caprices of a commodity market, anyone could have guessed that the boom would eventually deflate. It happens every few decades. [Click here to read the full Dallas Morning news article**](https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/07/16/boom-bust-fracking-permanently-changing-texas-undercutting-opec).
**Ogg Dismisses Poker Room Cases, Citing Conflict with Consultant and Fundraiser:The prosecutions of two Houston poker rooms collapsed Tuesday as Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg dismissed felony money laundering charges against nine defendants, citing a potential conflict of interest involving a former contract employee and campaign donor. [Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article**](https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Ogg-dismisses-poker-room-cases-citing-conflict-14100998.php).
**Texas Economy Chugs Along as Economists Fret Over Trade, Global Slowdown:Texas remains among the strongest regional economies in the nation, but the horizon might not be as bright as tariffs continue to hit business’ bottom lines and uncertainty caused by signs of slowing economies in developing countries worry economists. [Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article**](https://files.constantcontact.com/8a851c83701/f7752384-923f-40cd-af43-060798d9b7e0.pdf).
FCC Funds Rural Internet Access in 89 Texas Counties: The Federal Communications Commission on Monday approved nearly $77 million in funding for improving rural internet access in 89 Texas counties. The money will go to connecting businesses and residences that are unserved by existing internet access. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Can Hydrogen Save Oil Companies from Climate Shift?: Hydrogen as a source of energy is a tough sell. Sixteen years after former president George W. Bush forecast that the age of the hydrogen car was upon us, the world is still waiting. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Dates to Note:
NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) Legislative Summit
August 5 - 8, 2019
TIPRO (Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association) Summer Conference
August 7 - 8, 2019
August 14 - 16, 2019
September 16, 2019 to September 20, 2019
September 26 - 28, 2019
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
The Belmont, Austin, TX
Texas House Republican Caucus Fall Golf Tournament
October 17 - 18, 2019
Texas Energy Summit at the Capitol
November 12 - 14, 2019
Click here for House of Representatives Capitol Events Calendar.
Click here for Texas Senate Capitol Events Calendar.