Landgraf Connects Odessans with Texas Water Development Board

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) hosted a virtual meeting between Odessa city officials and leadership at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on Thursday to identify state funding assistance for city water infrastructure following the recent water outages in Odessa.

“During my time as state representative, I’ve voted to support multiple initiatives to provide funding for new water infrastructure projects and assist municipalities with the process of upgrading aging water infrastructure,” Landgraf said. “Today’s meeting was all about ensuring city officials are aware of the resources available to update Odessa’s aging water system and avoid future outages and boil notices. I’ll continue doing everything I can until Odessans can rest easy with confidence that they will have access to safe, clean water for generations to come.”

Joining Representative Landgraf for the meeting were the top brass from the Texas Water Development Board, Odessa City Councilman Steve Thompson, Odessa City Manager John Beckmeyer, and representatives from the City of Odessa utilities department, Odessa Development Corporation, and the office of State Senator Kevin Sparks (R-Midland). 

While water infrastructure is a local responsibility, TWDB staff noted that Odessa may be eligible for grant funding from the state and that TWDB staff will be available to answer any questions and provide assistance as the city works to identify its greatest needs and apply for state funding.

“TWDB staff were incredibly helpful and provided an excellent overview of the funding available and processes and deadlines the city must follow to access these resources as quickly as possible. I appreciate the important work they are doing to address this most basic of all human needs. The Rainy Day Fund, which is of course mostly funded by oil and gas production taxes, has been tapped on several occasions to fund these statewide water initiatives, and TWDB is an effective steward of those funds. I look forward to continuing to work with TWDB and the city to bring some of those production taxes back to Odessa in the form of grants for our water system.”

In 2023, Landgraf sponsored Proposition 6, a landmark initiative allocating $1 billion to the Texas Water Fund, a critical investment in addressing Texas water needs. This fund, administered by the TWDB provides financing for essential water projects. With this significant infusion of funding, communities like Odessa have access to the resources needed to modernize aging and dilapidated water systems, enhance conservation efforts, and bolster resilience against drought and other water-related challenges.

Landgraf’s LNG Committee Calls Out Hypocrisy of Feds’ Climate Policy

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and the members of the House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports held a hearing in Port Arthur on Thursday to discuss the potential impacts of the Biden administration’s temporary pause on pending approvals of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports to countries without a free trade agreement with the United States.

“President Biden has placed our nation’s economic and national security at significant risk for political gain,” Landgraf said. “The impacts of LNG exports have been studied extensively in the last two decades. Pausing pending approvals of LNG exports at this time based on the claim that additional research is necessary is absolutely incredulous. The Biden Administration is simply attempting to buy votes in November under the guise of environmental protection. The administration’s unilateral actions strike at the heart of our state’s prosperity, our country’s national security and threaten to undermine the very foundation of our energy industry”

In January, the Biden Administration announced a temporary pause on pending decisions on exports of LNG to non-FTA countries until the Department of Energy (DOE) can update the underlying analyses for authorizations. The administration claims that the pause is necessary because the economic and environmental analyses used by the DOE to underpin its LNG export authorizations are five years old and no longer adequate. In response, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) established the House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports.

“Texas is blessed to have a House Speaker that is serious about energy,” Landgraf continued. “Speaker Phelan is a champion for Texas energy, hailing from the downstream community of Beaumont. I’m thankful he is in the foxhole with me fighting to ensure that Texas continues to be an energy leader and, as such, a global force for good. If there is a drop in Texas LNG exports, countries like Qatar and Russia will fill in the gap, ignoring human rights and without any regard for the environment. Contrary to the Biden Administration’s claims, Texas LNG exports make the world a cleaner and safer place. I look forward to demonstrating these facts once again as a member of the Protecting Texas LNG Exports Select Committee.”

Speaker Phelan established the House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports and instructed the committee to analyze the applicable legal authorities under which the federal action was taken, including the Natural Gas Act of 1938, as amended (15 U.S.C. section 717 to 717z), and the Administrative Procedure Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. section 551-559); assess the potential economic, environmental, and social impacts of such federal action on the state; identify strategies to mitigate all adverse effects on the LNG industry. Texas's energy sector, and the state's economy as a whole; and formulate recommendations for legislative, policy, or other remedial actions to address the challenges posed by the federal suspension of LNG export permits.

Landgraf: More Law Enforcement Grant Funding Headed to West Texas

AUSTIN — Legislation supported by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has resulted in significant grant funding for law enforcement agencies in the four counties he represents in the Texas House of Representatives. Landgraf voted for SB 22 during the 2023 legislative session to provide salary assistance for rural law enforcement, a need he is well aware of as the state representative for the West Texas counties of Ector, Loving, Ward, and Winkler.

“I’m proud to fight for the men and women who risk everything to keep us safe,” Landgraf said. “Supporting local law enforcement is always a top priority for me, and that is exactly what SB 22 is all about, law and order in the rural parts of our great state. If it wasn’t for all of the production taking place in the Permian Basin, the state of Texas wouldn’t be what it is today. I’m thankful to see some of these blessings come back our way in the form of funding for our dedicated sheriffs and district attorneys.”

Senate Bill 22 requires the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to establish and administer grant programs to provide salary assistance for rural sheriffs’ offices, constables’ offices, and prosecutors’ offices in small and mid-sized counties, such as the ones in Landgraf’s district. Grant applications can be submitted annually and the funds can be used to provide salary increases, hire additional staff, or purchase vehicles, firearms, and safety equipment.

“Nobody exemplifies the West Texas work ethic like our law enforcement,” Landgraf continued. “I appreciate Comptroller Hegar for implementing SB 22 and rolling out the first round of grants so quickly. I’ll continue working with state leaders to do everything possible to support our law enforcement and keep Texans safe.”

In the first year of grants awarded, the Rural Law Enforcement Salary Assistance Grant Program will award a total of $1.725 million in grants to law enforcement agencies represented by Landgraf. The grant amounts and awardees are as follows: $500,000 to the Ector County Sheriff’s Office; $350,000 to the Ward County Sheriff’s Office; $250,000 to the Winkler County Sheriff’s Office; $275,000 to the Ector County District Attorney’s Office; $175,000 to District Attorney’s Office for the counties of Reeves, Ward, and Loving; and $175,000 to District Attorney’s Office for the counties of Winkler and Crane.

Landgraf Appointed to Protect Texas LNG Exports Amid Biden’s Ban

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) was appointed to the House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports. The selection committee, created by House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), will conduct a comprehensive review of the impacts of the Biden Administration’s executive action imposing a temporary pause on pending decisions on export permits for the sale of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement countries.

“I’m thankful to Speaker Phelan for creating this important committee,” Landgraf said. “The significance of LNG exports to our state and nation cannot be overstated. It is a matter of concern for not just our economy, but our national security, that the Biden Administration is weaponizing the federal government against the energy industry.”

As part its review, the House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports has been charged by Speaker Phelan to analyze the legal authority under which the federal action was taken; assess economic, environmental, and social impacts; identify strategies to mitigate the adverse of effects on the LNG industry, Texas’ energy sector, and the state’s economy; and recommend legislative, policy, or other remedial actions to address the challenges posed by the federal suspension of LNG export permits.

“As a lifelong resident of the Permian Basin, the chairman of the House Environmental Regulation Committee, and attorney, I’m uniquely informed and motivated to get to work on this select committee. Whether it’s as a member of the Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports, as the chairman of the Environmental Regulation Committee, or simply as a West Texan that is absolutely fed up, I will continue to take the fight to the Biden Administration and hold them accountable for their failed policies.”

The House Select Committee on Protecting Texas LNG Exports will be chaired by Representative Jared Patterson (R-Frisco). In addition to Representative Landgraf, the committee also includes the following members: Representative Christian Manuel (D-Beaumont), Representative Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston), and Representative Cody Vasut (R-Angleton).

Landgrafs Honor UTPB 50th Anniversary at Capitol Christmas Tree Ceremony

AUSTIN — An ornament commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) hangs in the State Capitol this Christmas season. Dustin Pando, a junior at UTPB majoring in Art with an emphasis on Graphic Design, painted the ornament.

“UTPB’s 50th anniversary is a big deal, so we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this historic milestone with the district ornament this year,” State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) said. “We’ve brought some West Texas flair and a little Falcon spirit to the Texas Capitol this Christmas. Dustin did a great job, and I really appreciate Professor Chris Stanely’s collaboration on this project as well.”

Pando’s painting features the UTPB 50th anniversary “Time to Fly” logo and includes depictions of reindeer, stars, and other Christmas scenery silhouetted against a backdrop of Falcon orange, reminding one of a festive West Texas sunset.

“With its brilliant orange, the ornament is easy to spot, and will make any West Texan visiting the capitol proud,” State Representative Brooks Landgraf said. “I’ve taken every chance I’ve had this year at the Capitol to celebrate UTPB’s first 50 years in our community and to fight for the resources necessary to make its next 50 years even more successful.”

Representative Brooks Landgraf, joined by his wife, Shelby, and their daughter, Hollis Rose, hung the ornament on the Christmas tree that stands in the Texas House Chamber. Every year each state representative is invited to select an artist from his or her community to create an ornament to hang on the Capitol Christmas tree that showcases what makes their Texas House District special or unique. Thousands of visitors will see the ornament and tree at the Capitol this month.

“I’m beaming with Falcon pride and Christmas spirit,” Shelby Landgraf said. “Odessans have so much to be proud of and thankful for this holiday season, and having a bona fide university like UTPB in the city limits for the last half century is certainly one of them.”

In 1969, State Representative Ace Pickens (D-Odessa) authored and championed the legislation which created UTPB in Odessa. Thanks to Mr. Pickens’s vision and fortitude, UTPB first opened to serve students in 1973.

Landgraf’s Anti-Fentanyl Bill Leads to Murder Charge

AUSTIN – Legislation co-authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and filed by State Representative Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth) to combat the fentanyl crisis is already having a big local impact less than two months after becoming law. House Bill 6, which was passed by the legislature earlier this year and went into effect on September 1, 2023, increased penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl, allowing fentanyl dealers to be charged with murder in certain circumstances.

“Every lawmaker in the state of Texas has lost a constituent to fentanyl poisoning,” Landgraf said. “It is heartbreaking to open up the paper and see another young face that has passed away as a result of this deadly substance. No parent should have to bury their child.”

On Saturday, using the new law that went into effect on September 1, the Odessa Police Department arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of murder after officers discovered he sold fentanyl to a 16-year-old who died of a fentanyl overdose earlier this month.

“Fentanyl is being treated like a poison because that’s what it is,” Landgraf continued. “Like anthrax, fentanyl is lethal in incredibly small amounts, meaning it needs to be classified and prosecuted unlike any other drug. That is why fentanyl dealers, like the one arrested in Odessa, should be charged with murder if someone they’ve sold the drug to dies.”

HB 6 increased the penalty for manufacturing or delivering less than one gram of fentanyl to a third degree felony, raising the penalty to a murder if a death occurs. HB 6 also defines unlawful possession with intent to deliver such a substance as organized criminal activity to give law enforcement and prosecutors more tools to combat the crime.

“I’m grateful to the Odessa police officials who made this arrest, the prosecutors who filed the murder charge, and the medical examiners for their thankless work,” Landgraf concluded.

Fentanyl-related deaths reported in Texas increased 89% from 2020 to 2021. Since March 2021, as part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Department of Public Safety has seized more than 434 million lethal doses of fentanyl across the state, enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the county. In addition to coauthoring HB 6, Landgraf has worked to increase funding for border security in each of the last two legislative sessions. These funds, which total $5.1 billion for 2024-2025, are being used to station Texas military and DPS Troopers on the border, build a wall, install floating buoys and razor wire, and operate thousands of cameras along with other border security measures.

Border Security Bills Sail Through Texas House

AUSTIN – Several border security bills co-authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) passed out of the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislative package includes House Bill 4, House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 4, which passed out of the lower chamber by votes of 84-60, 84-61, and 92-54, respectively. HB 4 and HB 6 will now go to the Texas Senate for consideration while SB 4, having already received approval from both chambers, heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

“It is up to the Texas legislature to step up where the Biden administration has failed, and that is exactly what we’re doing here today,” Landgraf said. “The legislation we passed today will play a crucial role in our state’s on-going efforts to secure the border. The state must act when the lives and property of Texans are at stake, so I’m proud of the work we’ve done here today, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m sick and tired of Texas having to clean up Biden’s messes. Whether it’s the open border, weaponizing federal agencies to curb oil and gas production, or any number of other failures, the Biden administration continues to prioritize the whims of a few coastal elites over the rights, freedoms and safety of American citizens, especially Texans. Thankfully, leaders in Texas are taking a different approach, with Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan continually stepping up to prioritize border security.”

HB 4 makes illegal entry into the US a state-level offense so Texas law enforcement can order those entering illegally to return to their country. HB 6 allocates $1.5 billion to build the border wall, which is in addition to the $5.1 billion included in the state budget passed earlier this year to secure the Texas-Mexico border, of which $650 million was set aside to continue construction of physical barriers. Finally, SB 4 raises the mandatory minimum sentences for human smuggling and the operation of a stash house. Landgraf is a co-author of HB 4 and HB 6, and a co-sponsor of SB 4. Landgraf also voted to support the increase in border security funding provided in the 2024-2025 state budget to station Texas military and DPS Troopers on the border, build a wall, install floating buoys and razor wire, and operate thousands of cameras along with other border security measures. Additionally, Landgraf supported successful legislation from the regular session that designated drug cartels as terrorist organizations and increased penalties on fentanyl smuggling that is coming across the border.

“Unlike President Biden, Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan make routine trips to the border,” Landgraf continued. “I’ve also made a few trips to see things for myself, most recently doing so earlier this month in the midst of one of the biggest surges of illegal border crossings in history. I’ve seen how bad it is with my own eyes, and this most recent trip was the worst I’ve ever seen it. Until something changes in Washington, D.C., the state of Texas must keep doing everything we can to limit the damage of Biden’s border crisis. My commitment to secure the border remains steadfast and I’m proud to report that our state has never been better equipped to get the job done.”

Landgraf and the other members of the Texas legislature convened at the Texas Capitol building on October 9 for a special legislative session called by Governor Abbott. Special sessions of the Texas legislature can only be called by the governor and can last no longer than 30 days. Earlier this year, members of the Texas House and Senate met for a constitutionally required 140-day regular session to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.

Landgraf’s Border Security Bill Advances

AUSTIN – Border security legislation co-authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is headed to the House floor for debate. House Bill 4, which creates a criminal offense for illegal entry and authorizes licensed peace officers to remove illegal immigrants from Texas, passed out of the House State Affairs Committee by a vote of 8 to 3 and is now expected to receive consideration by the full House as early as Wednesday. If passed by the Texas House of Representatives, the legislation will head to the Texas Senate for consideration and must ultimately be signed by the governor to go into law.

“Illegal border crossings set a new record in September,” Landgraf said. “The Biden administration’s failed policies are placing the lives and property of Texans at risk, requiring the state to take immediate further action. Just a few weeks ago I was there myself, personally witnessing the mass of humanity overwhelming personnel and infrastructure in Texas border communities. I’m incredibly thankful Governor Abbott included border security legislation on the call for this special session so that we can take meaningful steps to keep Texans safe right now.”

On October 9, the Texas legislature convened for a special 30-day legislative session called by Governor Greg Abbott. During a special session, the legislature can only consider legislation related to topics included in the governor’s agenda for that session. Legislation to do more to reduce illegal immigration and legislation to impede illegal entry into Texas were among the items included on the agenda for the current session. During the 2023 fiscal year, which ended in September, U.S. Customs and Border Control reported a record-breaking 2.475 million border enforcement encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border. Nearly 270,000 of these encounters occurred in September, the largest monthly total in history.

“House Bill 4 will add to the state’s arsenal of tools available to secure the border,” Landgraf continued. “If passed, HB 4 will enable Texas law enforcement officials to not just arrest a person for illegal entry, but to remove that person from the state. This, in addition to the ongoing construction of the border wall and efforts of DPS and the Texas National Guard as part of Operation Lone Star, will make Texas a safer place. I will keep working to get HB 4 passed and will not stop fighting until the border is secure.”

HB 4 creates state criminal offenses for illegal entry from a foreign nation, with the penalty ranging from a misdemeanor to a second degree felony under certain conditions. HB 4 also authorizes a peace officer, in lieu of arrest, to remove a person detained for such an offense by transporting the person to a port of entry. In addition to co-authoring HB 4, Landgraf supported efforts earlier this year to increase border security funding to $5.1 billion in the state budget for 2024 and 2025 to cover expenses incurred by Operation Lone Star and the border wall construction. Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, over 479,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended, resulting in over 32,300 felony charges and the seizure of over 434 million lethal doses of fentanyl. Texas has also bused over 50,000 migrants to cities such as Washington. D.C., New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Landgraf Travels to Eagle Pass to Survey Ongoing Border Crisis

EAGLE PASS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined several of his Texas House colleagues in Eagle Pass for an update on federal border security efforts and Operation Lone Star, which directs State resources and Texas law enforcement officers to the border to stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas; and prevent, detect, and interdict transnational criminal activity between ports of entry. While in Eagle Pass, Landgraf took part in a helicopter flyover of the Rio Grande to see the buoy barrier system and witness the masses of migrants coming across the border. The delegation of House members was also briefed by DPS Director Steve McCraw on the status of current operations.

Buoy Barrier in Rio Grande RiverBuoy barrier in the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass, Texas.

“President Biden's dangerous open border policy has created an international humanitarian crisis that threatens U.S. national security,” Landgraf said. “Today was heartbreaking and infuriating as I personally witnessed the real human and economic costs of this dangerous policy. Additional local and state law enforcement officers from all over the country are descending on the region to help, leaving other communities, many of which are also along the border, understaffed and vulnerable. I’m proud Texas is stepping up to the plate but frustrated we have to do so at all. Every American should be thankful that Governor Abbott, Speaker Phelan and most of my colleagues in the Texas legislature are taking this threat seriously and, more importantly, taking meaningful action.”

Earlier this year, Landgraf supported efforts to increase state border security funding to $5.1 billion in the state budget for 2024 and 2025. His vote will help fund Operation Lone Star, a joint effort between the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard.

Rep. Landgraf Surveys BorderRep. Landgraf surveying border operations from DPS helicopter.

“Mexico is now the United States’ number one trading partner, so delays at understaffed border crossings are slowing down commerce,” Landgraf continued. “There are waves of human beings, including women and very young children, showing up at our door in need of protection. At the same time, men with tattoos denoting clear gang affiliation are being granted ‘amnesty’ with impunity. This is an untenable situation threatening the lives and property of Texans as well as our national security and economic interests. Until President Biden wakes up, state leaders must continue doing everything we can to secure the border. We cannot stop fighting until Texas is secure.”

Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, the multi-agency effort has led to over 470,100 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 34,600 criminal arrests, with more than 31,600 felony charges reported. Texas law enforcement has also seized over 431 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission.

Texas-Mexico Border
View of U.S. soil from the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass, Texas.

Landgraf: State to Spend $4.3 Billion on Permian Basin Roads Over Next Decade

AUSTIN — The Texas Transportation Commission, led by Chairman Bruce Bugg, voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the state’s 2024 Unified Transportation Plan (UTP), which includes $4.3 billion in funding for transportation projects in the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Odessa district over the next decade. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), long-time member of the House Transportation Committee, has appeared before the commission to advocate for additional state transportation funding for the Permian Basin numerous times since his election to the Texas House.

“We continue to break funding records for our transportation infrastructure here in the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “The 2024 UTP funding amount of $4.3 billion breaks the record set by last year’s UTP by more than a billion. That money is being tabbed for projects planned for the next 10 years, demonstrating a long-term commitment by the state. When it comes to money actually spent to make our roads safer and get products to market faster, 2023 is the highest amount ever with over $550 million expended on projects in the Odessa TxDOT district, surpassing the record $480 million that was spent in 2020.”

Every year, the Texas Transportation Commission updates and approves the Unified Transportation Program (UTP). The UTP is TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides the development of transportation projects across the state. The 2024 UTP includes funding to continue the complete rebuild of I-20, make safety improvements to SH 191, widen US 285, and build and improve intersections and overpasses on Loop 338, including the interchange at US 385.

“I am filled with gratitude and hope everyone who lives and works in the Permian Basin will join me in thanking Governor Abbott and Chairman Bugg,” Landgraf continued. “We are already seeing positive results in terms of reduced crashes on many of the roadways the state has worked on in the last few years. To know that these improvements are going to continue for another 10 years is an answer to prayer, not possible without Governor Abbott and the Transportation Commissioners deciding to prioritize our region. To put it in perspective, only the 5 metro TxDOT districts have more funding tabbed in the 2024 UTP than the Odessa district, meaning we have more projects planned over the next decade than the 10 other rural districts and the 9 urban districts. This is a big deal.”

Since 2015, transportation funding has increased by more than 700% for highways in the Odessa TxDOT district, going from $50 million per year in the 4 years before 2015 to $430 million per year over the last 4 years. This year TxDOT has invested well over $500 million for projects in the Odessa TxDOT district – the largest amount ever. The Odessa TxDOT district, led by District Engineer Eric Lykins, P.E., plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains the state transportation system in the counties of Andrews, Crane, Ector, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler.