NEWS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Abbott Announces Departure of Top Adviser: Governor Greg Abbott announced that his senior aide Matt Hirsch will be departing the Office of the Governor. For the last seven years, Hirsch has guided messaging, press relations, and media strategy for the Governor. Click here to read more.
Lt. Gov Patrick Appoints Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the appointment of Dr. Ambrosio “Amos” Hernandez, Mayor of Pharr, to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee. Click here to read more.
Comptroller Glenn Hegar Distributes $1.04 Billion 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 $1.04 billion in local sales tax allocations for February, 9.4 percent more than in February 2019. Click here to read more.
General Land Office:
Commissioner Bush Hosts Grand Opening Ceremony for Texas State Veterans Home: On Friday, February 7, Texas Land Commissioner and Chairman of the Veterans Land Board George P. Bush celebrated the opening of the 9th Texas Veterans home with members of the Houston community, State Representatives, Mayor Turner and individuals from all over the state who are committed to serving Texas Veterans. Click here to read more.
Railroad Commissioners Act to Help Boost Energy Production in Texas: Texas Railroad Commissioners this week adopted a key rule amendment to adapt oil and gas regulations to an evolving energy exploration landscape in the state. Click here to read more.
RRC Commissioners Assess Nearly $1 Million in Penalties: The Railroad Commission of Texas assessed $928,816 in fines involving 327 enforcement dockets against operators and businesses at the Commissioners’ conference this week. Click here to read more.
Commission Chairman Christian Discusses Flaring in Texas: Flaring is a process used primarily in the production of crude oil in which excess natural gas produced with the oil is burned off at the well head. Click here to read more.
Railroad Commission Adopts New Pipeline Safety Rules - Prohibits Installation of Cast Iron Pipes; Adds New Requirements for Incident/Accident Reporting: New pipeline safety rules adopted by the Railroad Commission of Texas prohibit natural gas distribution pipeline operators from installing underground cast iron, wrought iron or bare steel pipelines. Click here to read more.
TDA Opens Applications for Family and Land Heritage Recognition: The Texas Agriculture Commissioner is proud to invite Texas farmers and ranchers to apply for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Family Land Heritage (FLH) program, which pays tribute to families who have kept their land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years. Click here to read more.
TCEQ approves fines totaling $584,386: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $483,002 against 28 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. Click here to read more.
TCEQ Accepting Nominations for Water Utility Occupational Licensing Advisory Committee Members for Fiscal Year 2021: TCEQ is seeking a total of seven new members to serve on the Committee beginning on September 1, 2020, for a four-year term. Completed applications must be received at TCEQ by 5:00 p.m. on March 10, 2020. Click here to read more.
Health and Human Services:
HHSC Executive Commissioner Courtney Phillips Resigns for Job in Louisiana: In letter to Gov. Abbott, Phillips writes she is returning to her home state to serve as Louisiana Secretary of Health and “be closer to my family and loved ones
Announcing a More Accessible PowerToSaveTexas.Org: The Public Utility Commission of Texas today announced an updated version of its money-saving PowerToSaveTexas.org website featuring increased accessibility to its electric customer best practices. Click here to read more.
Public Utility Commission Names New Legal Division Director Robles’ Second Decade of Public Service in Texas Continues: The Public Utility Commission of Texas announced that Rachelle Robles has been promoted to lead the agency’s legal division as Director. Click here to read more.
First Case of Coronavirus Identified in Texas; Group Returning from China Quarantined in San Antonio: The patient is among a group of people who returned from Hubei Province, China, and are under federal quarantine at a military base in San Antonio. Click here to read the Texas Tribune article.
Texas Hospitals Could Lose $11 Billion a Year with Proposed Medicaid Change: A proposed change in Medicaid rules could cost Texas hospitals billions of dollars, forcing many to cut services and some rural hospitals to close their doors, health care industry officials said. Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article.
Texas Cities Go to Court Over State Law They Say Loses Them Millions: AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile and other companies are building out their 5G networks — and much of it will be on public property. Texas cities are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars as a result according to the Texas Municipal League. Click here to read the full Texas Public Radio article.
Big Bend Communities Prepare for Future Impact of Energy Development: Technological advances have oil and gas development in the Permian Basin headed to new areas. Click here to read the full MRT article.
Texas Improperly Picked Winners for Contracts Worth $10 Billion, Health Insurers Argue: More than half a dozen health plans are appealing the contract decisions for STAR+PLUS, the state’s privatized insurance program for elderly, blind and disabled Texans. Click here to read the TX Tribune article.
Amid Data fight, TCAD Says it Won’t Update Residential Appraisals for 2020: In a move that could have significant financial implications, the Travis Central Appraisal District told nine local school districts Wednesday that the appraisal district will not be reappraising residential properties this year. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Austin’s Land Code Rewrite Gets 2nd Pivotal Approval at Testy Council Meeting: The Austin City Council gave its approval to the second reading of their rewrite of the city’s land development code Thursday night. Click here to read the Statesman article.
Lawyers Expect Feds to Approve Contested Texas Pipeline Within Days: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to give Houston-based pipeline giant Kinder Morgan the go-ahead to clear land for a hotly contested natural gas line through the Texas Hill Country within the next two days, attorneys for the company and the federal government said Wednesday. Click here to read the NPR article.
White House Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Federal Budget: The new White House Budget for America’s Future proposes $4.829 trillion in outlays for fiscal year 2021, with annual spending projected to top $6 trillion by 2028. Click here to see a breakdown and analysis by Forbes.
U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Hit an Eight-Year High: Court Data: U.S. farm bankruptcy rates jumped 20% in 2019 - to an eight-year high - as financial woes in the U.S. agricultural economy continued in spite of massive federal bail-out funding, according to federal court data. Click here to read the full Reuters article.
For Texas, Promise and Pitfalls in China: Texas companies are betting big on China. But will the nation’s slowing growth bring a payoff? Click here to read the Houston Chronicle article.