NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration Following Severe Weather in Texas: Governor Greg Abbott today requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for three Texas counties that sustained widespread damage due to severe thunderstorms, straight line winds, hail, and tornadoes from October 20th through October 21st, 2019. Click here to read the letter.
Governor Abbott Appoints Several Positions: This week Governor Greg Abbott made several gubernatorial-appointments including Perkins and Streusand to Texas Public Finance Authority. Click here to see the full list.
Governor Abbott Extended the Disaster Declaration in January 2020 for Texas Counties Affected by Hurricane Harvey: Click here to read the full proclamation.
Statement on First Meeting of the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection: “I was surprised by news reports today indicating there may be support for abandoning the long-time democratic practice of partisan election of judges by the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection before the commission begins their hearings.” Click here to read the full statement.
RRC Staff Processing Standard Drilling Permits in Two Days - Drilling Permit Processing Record Set for Second Year in a Row: For two years in a row since 2018, Railroad Commission of Texas staff have set a historic record of taking just two days on average to process standard drilling permits, one day below the Legislative requirement. Click here to read more.
RRC Commissioners Assess Nearly $900,000 in Penalties: The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $899,005 in fines involving 222 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ conference this week. Click here to read more.
Commissioner Sid Miller Announces Public Hearing for State Hemp Program: Commissioner Miller announced he will host a public hearing to take public comments on the Texas hemp rules. The rules were published Friday, Jan. 10, on the Texas Register. The hearing will be held on Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. at the Texas Farm Bureau Conference Center in Waco, Texas. Click here to read the full news release.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $757,877: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $661,764 against 45 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. Click here to read more.
Abbott: Emphasis on Building Out Texas Roads ‘Is Going to Change’: Shifting transportation priorities in Texas will phase out expansive road development in the near future, Gov. Greg Abbott predicted last week, Wednesday in a speech to the Rotary Club of San Antonio. Click here to read the full Rivard article.
New Record: Texas Oil and Gas Industry Paid $16.3 Billion in Taxes and State Royalties in 2019, Most in Texas History: According to just-released data from the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid more than $16 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties in fiscal year 2019 – the highest total in Texas history. Ahead of their annual winter conference this week, TXOGA released a new report. Click here to read more.
Wind has Almost Edged Out Coal for No. 2 Position in Texas: Wind energy generated 20 percent of the electricity used in Texas last year, nearly edging out coal as the state’s second leading source of power, according to new data from the state grid manager the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article.
Council May pump $100K into Permian Pipeline Legal Battle: Austin City Council members will vote on a resolution Thursday earmarking as much as $100,000 to the city manager to participate in civil litigation against the Permian Highway Pipeline. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Health and Human Services:
Tenth Talks: Dell Medical School’s Vice Dean Talks About Fixing Health Care: Watch Mini Kahlon, the vice dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, talk about an opportunity for radical change when it comes to health care. Click here to listen to the Texas Tribune production.
Accessible Technology Enables Independence: Recently, Comcast launched a feature that gives people with physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) the ability to navigate their televisions using only their eyes. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Alcohol and Tobacco:
Last-Minute Save’: Texas Makers of Beer, Wine and Spirits Raise a Glass to Congress for Extending Valuable Tax Break: Some producers feared a tax hit of tens of thousands of dollars if lawmakers didn’t extend the perk for another year. Click here to read the Dallas Morning News article.
Cigar Market Expected to Deliver Dynamic Progression until 2028: The Global Cigar Market report study includes an elaborative summary of the Cigar market that provides in-depth knowledge of various different segmentations. Click here to read the full InstaNews article.
President to Visit Austin for Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention: President Donald Trump will speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention Sunday in downtown Austin. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
As Drought Persists, Texas Ranchers Take Stock: According to figures released by the U.S. Drought Monitor this week, nearly 38% of the state is in drought. At least one-third of the state has been experiencing some level of drought since late August. Click here to read the full KUT article.
Racing and Gaming:
In Texas, Buying Lottery Tickets Just Got More Convenient. Maybe too Convenient: Lone Star State residents are about to have more opportunities to play, thanks to an innovation that is sure to pump up lottery revenue — and rankle critics who say state-sanctioned gambling disproportionately harms low-income communities. Click here to read the full article.
U.S., China Sign Deal Easing Trade Tensions: Agreement aims to sharply increase sales of U.S. goods and services to China, help protect intellectual property and further open Chinese markets. Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article.