NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott Appoints Eight to Texas Workforce Investment Council: Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Jesse Cecil Gatewood, Michael Hinojosa, Ed.D., John Martin, and Richard “Rick” Rhodes to the Texas Workforce Investment Council. Additionally, the Governor has appointed Brandon Willis and reappointed Mark Dunn, Tom Halbouty, and Richard Rhodes, Ph.D. Click here to read more about this and other gubernatorial-appointments made this week.
AG Paxton Joins 18-State Coalition Urging SCOTUS to Overturn the Shutdown of a Job-Producing Pipeline: Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office joined a coalition of 18 states urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that blocked construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, impeding the nation’s economic growth. Click here to read more.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar Distributes $821 Million in Monthly Sales Tax Revenue to Local Governments:Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced today he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $820.5 million in local sales tax allocations for December, 7.8 percent more than in December 2018. These allocations are based on sales made in October by businesses that report tax monthly. Click here to read more.
Statement from Commission Sid Miller on USMCA Trade Agreement: “Today, it appears the U.S. House of Representatives may soon forward on the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. As Texas Agriculture Commissioner, President of the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) and participant in the Tri-National Accords, I have been a staunch supporter of the USMCA since before President Trump sent it to Congress for ratification over 15 months ago…”. Click here to read the full statement.
General Land Office:
Commissioner Bush Announces HUD Has Allocated $239M to Texas for Long-Term Recovery Efforts for 2018 and 2019 Disasters: Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is pleased to announce the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated the state of Texas more than $239 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to assist in long-term recovery efforts following severe flooding in 2018 and 2019 in South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Tropical Storm Imelda in Southeast Texas. Click here to read more.
Health and Human Services:
HHS Now Recognizes Certain Out-of-State Occupational Licenses of Military Spouses: Texas Health and Human Services is recognizing out-of-state occupational licenses for spouses of military service members so that families moving to Texas can start work quickly. Click here to read more.
Texas Drilling Permits and Completions Statistics for November 2019: The Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission) issued a total of 958 original drilling permits in November 2019 compared to 933 in November 2018. Click here to read more.
Texas Oil and Gas Production Statistics for September 2019: Crude oil and natural gas production as reported to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) for September 2019 came from 172,622 oil wells and 87,726 gas wells. Click here to read more.
Secretary of State:
Secretary Hughs Convenes Statewide Agency Roundtable Discussion On 2020 Census: Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs today convened a roundtable discussion of state agencies to coordinate efforts with the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) to achieve an accurate count of all Texans in the upcoming 2020 Census. Click here to read more.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:
Health Report: Texas Ranks 34th in the Nation: America’s Health Rankings is a composite index of over 30 metrics that give an annual snapshot of health of a population in each state relative to the other states. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Click here to read more.
After Controversy, Texas Medical Board Is No Longer Writing Rules For Surprise Bill Law: The Texas Medical Board will no longer be writing the rules for a new law outlawing surprise medical bills for some Texans. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. During a meeting Friday morning, the board decided to relinquish its rulemaking authority after consumer advocates accused it of undermining the law. Click here to read the full KUT Article.
How One Gulf Coast City Is Planning For Its Cut Of $4 Billion In Harvey Relief: The Texas General Land Office has proposed a plan to help mitigate damage from Hurricane Harvey – damage that some homeowners are still dealing with over two years later. Over $4 billion in federal community development block grants will go to those affected. But first, local governments have to figure out how, exactly, to spend the money. Click here to read the full KUT article.
OIL AND GAS:
Olin Shuttering Two Freeport Chemical Plants: The petrochemical manufacturer Olin Corp. said it will permanently shutter two of its plants in Freeport next year. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Texas Oil and Gas Regulator Sued Over Flaring Decision: Texas oil and gas regulators have granted almost 30,000 permits to burn natural gas into the air over the past seven years, but a pipeline company is now challenging its authority to unilaterally green-light the practice of flaring. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Digital Roughnecks: Oil and gas Workforce Changing as Tech’s Role Grows: Jobs in the oil and natural gas industry are changing as technology plays an ever larger role in extracting fossil fuels beneath the ground and under the sea. A younger, diverse class of tech workers holding these and other titles, such as big data engineer or user experience designer, are increasingly replacing roughnecks, roustabouts and other blue collar workers who toil under the hot Texas sun or on platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Some Farmers are Taking Advantage of A Visa Program for Specialized Workers: In the 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was created to better align the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. One small part of it was a special work visa program that allowed American employers to more easily hire skilled foreign workers in certain fields, including in agriculture. But some employers took advantage of the program. Click here to read the full Texas Public Radio article.
America’s Rural Hospital Crisis Becomes Major 2020 Campaign Issue: As the crisis worsens, it has started to generate increased attention on the campaign trail. Presidential candidates are now talking about the rural hospital shortage on a regular basis, unlike past cycles, as they court voters in critical states like Iowa where the thinning medical infrastructure is an everyday reality. Click here to read more.
House-Senate Fix Could Break Gridlock on ‘Surprise’ Medical Bills: Bipartisan efforts to protect patients from “surprise” medical bills are regaining momentum after stalling out over the summer. Click here to read the full Politico article.