NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott Joins President Trump for USMCA Ceremonial Bill Signing in Washington D.C.: Governor Greg Abbott joined President Donald Trump for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) ceremonial bill signing in Washington D.C. Click here to read more.
Governor Abbott Receives Briefing from State Health Officials on Coronavirus: Governor Greg Abbott met with state health officials for a briefing on the novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Texas. The leaders discussed the current status of the coronavirus in the United States, as well as what Texas is doing to combat any potential threats. Click here to read more.
Governor Abbott Appoints Scher to Texas Public Finance Authority and Shields to the Texas Lottery Commission: Click here to read more about these and other gubernatorial-appointments made this week.
Texas Comptroller’s Office Releases A Field Guide to the Taxes of Texas: The Texas Comptroller’s office recently released A Field Guide to the Taxes of Texas, a periodic report providing an overview of Texas’ major state taxes. Click here to read more.
General Land Office:
Cmr. George P. Bush Announces More Than $17M in Disaster Recovery Buyout Funds: Newly approved funds going to San Jacinto, Goliad Counties and the cities of Vidor and Nome. Click here to read more.
Railroad Commission Launches Two More Interactive Statewide Data Maps - Provides Drilling Permit and Spud Data: The Railroad Commission of Texas this week launches two more interactive data maps showing oil and gas drilling permit approvals and the number of wells spudded, which is when operators begin drilling a well. Click here to read more.
Statement from Commissioner Miller on USMCA Signing: “Time to buy a bigger tractor, because the USMCA is going to be great for agriculture. …” Miller begins. Click here to read the full statement.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $582,484: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $455,865 against 32 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. Click here to read more.
Health and Human Services:
Texas is Monitoring Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: A new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was recently detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. For prevention tips, symptoms, traveler information, and health care provider resources, read the Texas Department of State of Health Services (DSHS) coronavirus information: Coronavirus Info.
Texas Energy Sector Declined for 10 Straight Months in 2019: The health of the Texas energy sector declined for 10-straight months to close out 2019, even as oil and gas production steadily rose throughout the year, according to a new report from the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article.
Coronavirus Screenings Coming to Houston, Dallas And El Paso Airports: Several Texas airports will soon begin screening certain travelers for a novel form of coronavirus, as public health officials rush to contain a deadly outbreak that so far has been mostly limited to China. While three major airlines announced this week that they will discontinue service to and from China. Click here to read the Houston Public Media article.
Watch: Conversations on the Future of Health Care: We sat down in Edinburg with lawmakers, thought leaders and medical professionals from all corners of the state for a daylong series of conversations on health care issues affecting Texas. Click here to view.
Deepwater Horizon Settlement Money to be Used for New Coastal Land Purchase: Using money from a settlement tied to a decade-old oil rig disaster, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved purchasing 1,100 acres on Matagorda Peninsula as part of a wider nature preservation effort along the Gulf of Mexico. Click here to read the Statesman article.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Approves Fee Structure for Managed Lands Deer Program: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a fee structure for the highly popular Managed Lands Deer Program on Thursday. Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article.
With Texas’ Blessing, New Oyster Industry Developing Along Gulf: Last year Texas became the final state on the Gulf of Mexico to legalize off-bottom oyster mariculture, a process which uses raised “beds” in shallow waters which oysters attach to, grow from, and eventually are plucked and processed. Click here to read the Brownsville Herald article.
Texas Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Case Over Fort Worth’s Game Room Regulations: The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Tuesday morning over eight-liner gambling machines in Fort Worth and the extent to which the city can regulate them. Click here to read the Fort Worth Star Telegram article.
CBD, Hemp, Medical Marijuana? Here’s What You Need to Know About Texas’ Changing Pot Laws: Marijuana and hemp are often indistinguishable by look or smell because they both come from the cannabis plant. But hemp is legal, and marijuana is not. Click here to read the Texas Tribune article.
USDA Approves Texas State Hemp Plan: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Texas’ hemp regulatory plans, State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said on Monday. Click here to read the CBS DFW article.
Republican Gary Gates Handily Beats Democrat Eliz Markowitz in Texas House District 28 Runoff: Republican Gary Gates decisively beat Democrat Eliz Markowitz in the nationally targeted special election runoff for Texas House District 28, marking a disappointing loss for Democrats who had hoped to use the race to build momentum toward capturing control of the lower chamber in November. Click here to read the Texas Tribune article.
Ahead of Explosion, Port Neches Plant Reported an Increase of Rogue emissions of Explosive Gas: After the federal government required TPC Group to install air monitors at its Port Neches plant, the company detected a significant increase in the number and size of butadiene emissions in the months leading up to multiple blasts at the plant on Nov. 27. Click here to read the Houston Public Media article.
Budget Deficit to Break $1 Trillion Despite Strong Economy: An annual congressional report says that the U.S. budget deficit is likely to burst through the symbolic $1 trillion barrier this year despite a healthy economy. Click here to read the AP article.
Governor Abbott Joins Secretary Alex Azar, Federal Cabinet and Health Officials, State Governors for Update On Coronavirus: The federal and state leaders discussed strategies to limit and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and how all states and the federal government can collaborate to prevent the expansion of the virus in the United States. Click here to read more.