NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation Declaring The Results Of The Recent Constitutional Amendment Election: Ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution were voted on in the Constitutional Amendment Election held on November 5, 2019. Click here to read the proclamation.
Lieutenant Governor Patrick Announces Senate Chamber Review Committee: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he has appointed a committee to review the history and procedures for the placement of art and other decor in the historic Texas Senate Chamber. Senate Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, will chair the committee. Click here to read more.
Statement on Surprise Billing Rules: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement following news reports that the Texas Medical Board may be attempting to weaken the surprise billing legislation passed in the 2019 Legislative Session. Click here to read that statement.
State Sales Tax Revenue Totaled $3.2 Billion in November: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said that state sales tax revenue totaled $3.18 billion in November, 6.2 percent more than in November 2018. Click here to read more.
EPA and TCEQ Announce Story Map Resource: Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announce an interactive resource to help keep the public updated and informed about the response activities for the TPC Group Plant Explosion in Port Neches, Texas. Click here to read more.
TCEQ Announces New Round of Grants for Building or Expanding Alternative Fueling Facilities: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announces that up to $12 million in grants is available for eligible individuals, businesses, and governmental entities to build or expand alternative fueling facilities in Texas. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CST, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Click here to read more.
Health and Human Services:
HHS Announces New Chief Program and Services Officer: Michelle Alletto has been named the Texas Health and Human Services Chief Program and Services Officer, effective Jan. 20. Click here to read more.
Electricity Shoppers Reminded There is Just One PowerToChoose.org Site: The Public Utility Commission of Texas is reminding customers in the areas of the state served by the competitive electricity market to be on the lookout for sites that might be misleading visitors with names and addresses that are too close to the agency’s PowerToChoose.org website. Click here to read more.
Oil and Gas:
As Shale Boom Stalls, Houston Looks to Health Care for Job Growth: Houston is counting on industries outside oil to employ residents of America’s fourth-largest city as the Texas shale boom sputters. Click here to read the full Bloomberg-Financial Post.
Halliburton Shifts Strategies in Oklahoma Amid Ongoing Shale Slump: Houston oilfield service giant Halliburton is shifting strategies sand relocating some of its field operations in Oklahoma amid the ongoing shale slump. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Pipeline Giant Sues Railroad Commission, Alleging Lax Oversight of Natural Gas Flaring: A subsidiary of Tulsa-based Williams Cos. is suing Texas’ oil and gas regulatory agency after it approved a request from Dallas-based Exco Operating Co. to burn off natural gas from wells in South Texas while they were hooked up to Williams’ pipeline system. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Critics Protest Timing of Hearing on Crude Oil Terminal Proposed for Port Aransas: Plans for a crude oil export terminal in Port Aransas have provoked strong opposition from environmentalists and local groups worried about what the project could mean for the Gulf Coast and the popular tourist community. Click here to read the full KUT article.
Some Democrats Swear Off Oil and Gas Money, Risking ‘Third Rail’ of Texas Politics: They argue that Texas, the nation’s top producer of wind energy, can lead the nation in transitioning to all forms of clean energy as well, creating plenty of jobs in the process. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Texas Psychiatrists Create Network to Improve Mental Health Treatment of Kids: To address the shortage of mental health providers, coupled with a growing population that, by some measures, is showing increasing need for mental health treatment, the Texas legislature allocated millions toward improving mental health care for kids in the state. Click here to read the full Victoria Advocate article.
Lt. Gov. Patrick Threatens Medical Board Over Surprise Billing Rule: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is threatening to wage war against the Texas Medical Board over a rule the board has proposed that he says would undermine a new law that cracks down on surprise medical bills. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Alcohol and Tobacco:
‘It’s Just Out of Control’: Texas Senators Frustrated Over Rise of Vaping, Lack of Regulation: Texas lawmakers expressed frustration Tuesday over the rise of vaping devices among youth and the lack of federal and state regulation, despite a new law that raised the smoking age to 21 in September. Click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.
Can You Get Alcohol Delivered in Texas? Soon – Just in Time for Your Holiday Parties: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is accepting applications from companies that want to bring beer, wine and liquor to customers’ front doors, according to a Thursday news release. Click here to read the full Star Telegram article.
Union Pacific Sues Texas Town Over 1870s-era Jobs Promise: Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) is suing the city of Palestine, Texas, to nullify a 150-year-old contract to keep a certain number of jobs in the town indefinitely. Click here to read or listen to the full Freight Waves article.
Port Neches Plant Rocked by Multiple Explosions was Declared High Priority violator by EPA: The Southeast Texas chemical manufacturing plant, owned by Houston-based Texas Petroleum Chemical Group, has a long history of environmental violations and been out of compliance with federal clean air laws for years. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott Elected Republican Governors Association Chairman: Gov. Greg Abbott will serve as chairman of the Republican Governors Association for 2020, it was announced during their annual meeting in Arizona at the end of November. He’ll assume the position immediately and will serve for a one-year duration. Click here to read his full statement.
These Three Texas Cities are Among Nation’s Top 10 ‘Boomtowns’: Three of the nation’s fastest growing and most prosperous cities are in Texas, according to a new ranking. Click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.
Crude Inventories Plunge as U.S. Emerges as Net Petroleum Exporter: The nation’s stockpiles of commercial crude oil plunged by nearly 5 million barrels last week as the United States continues to emerge as a net petroleum exporter at the end of 2019. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Texas Among Top States in Country to Cut Funds to Environmental Agencies: Texas slashed funding to its environmental enforcement agency by more than a third over the last decade, a new study has found, raising concerns about how closely the oil and gas industry is being policed at a time when the sector is booming and petrochemical plant fires in the Houston region are drawing national attention. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Handful of U.S. States is Poised to Legalize Sports Wagering: The number of states allowing sports betting is poised to expand. 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 today. Click here to read the full Stock Daily Dish article.