Landgraf Renews Constitutional Oath; Files Homesteader’s Bill of Rights

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) took the oath of office on Tuesday at the Texas Capitol to once again serve the Permian Basin as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

Landgraf and the other members of the Texas legislature convened at the Texas Capitol building for the 88th Texas Legislative Session on January 10th, 2023. Members of the Texas House and Texas Senate meet for a 140-day regular session beginning the second Tuesday in January every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve as a voice for the Permian Basin in the Texas House of Representatives,” Landgraf said. “The hardworking men and women who live and work in Ector, Ward, Winkler, and Loving counties deserve to have their voices heard in their state government. I’m headed back to the state capitol to continue fighting to defend and expand their rights and liberties.”

During the next 140 days, the Texas House of Representatives, along with the Texas Senate, will consider legislation on hundreds of issues impacting the state. Lawmakers will propose bills and prioritize how to allocate the state’s record budget surplus of nearly $30 billion.

In addition to passing a balanced state budget without raising taxes, Landgraf's priorities this session include defending the oilpatch from unnecessary regulation, expanding individual liberty, increasing transparency at every level of government, and reducing the negative impact of “Robin Hood” and STAAR testing on public school students and families in West Texas. As part of his effort to expand freedom and liberty, Landgraf has filed House Bill 92 and House Joint Resolution 9, dubbed the “Texas Homesteader's Bill of Rights.”

“The Texas Homesteader’s Bill of Rights is ultimately all about fulfilling the basic governmental role protecting life and property,” Landgraf said of the legislative proposal. “Texans should not be restricted – during times of emergency or otherwise – in their ability to fend for themselves or provide for their families. My aim is to make this a constitutional right here in Texas, and to provide laws necessary to protect what I view as the basic human right of self-sufficiency.”

HJR 9 would amend the Texas Constitution to establish that Texans have the right to conduct activities on their homestead property necessary to secure access to food, water, electric power, and shelter. HB 92 prohibits municipalities, counties, and property owner's associations from enforcing ordinances that prohibit certain activities on residence homestead properties, such as growing fruits or vegetables, or installing a rainwater harvesting system or a standby electric generator.

“There are many lessons to be learned from the pandemic and 2021 winter storm, like how access to the most basic human needs -- like food and water -- cannot be guaranteed during times of widespread crisis. This lesson was learned by many Texas families, who are now seeking ways to be more self-sufficient so that they are better prepared if and when another major crisis occurs.”

“I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. This duty is the ultimate role of any elected official, and an oath I will diligently uphold as I continue fighting to ensure West Texas voices are heard in the chambers and halls of their state Capitol,” Landgraf concluded.


Odessa Artist Paints Ornament for Capitol Christmas Tree

AUSTIN — An ornament designed and painted by an Odessa artist hangs in the State Capitol this Christmas season. Tabata Ayup of Odessa hand painted the ornament. Ayup’s painting captures the West Texas spirit, depicting a sunset, a blooming agave plant, a windmill, and the mythical jackalope.

"Tabata created a true work of art,” State Representative Brooks Landgraf said. "Every West Texan would be proud to see our community represented so beautifully on the Capitol Christmas tree."

Representative Brooks Landgraf and his wife Shelby Landgraf welcomed Tabata Ayup to the Capitol to help hang the ornament on the 23-foot Christmas tree that stands in the Texas House Chamber.

"I appreciate Tabata sharing her extraordinary artistic talents with the State of Texas and I’m grateful for the countless hours of work she poured into this project to represent our community so wonderfully," Shelby Landgraf said.

Fewer than 150 artists are selected each year to design an ornament to hang on the Capitol Christmas tree. Each state representative is invited to select an artist from his or her community to create an ornament that showcases what makes their Texas House District special or unique.

Thousands of holiday visitors will see the Capitol Christmas tree and admire the Odessa ornament this month. The Christmas tree and Tabata Ayup’s ornament will be on display in the Texas House of Representatives chamber through January 2, 2023.

2022 HD 81 Christmas Ornament.

Rep. Landgraf, Mrs. Landgraf and artist Tabta Ayup.


Landgraf Files Texas Energy Independence Act

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 33 to stall the implementation of any new federal regulations on oil or natural gas production in Texas. HB 33, nicknamed the “Texas Energy Independence Act,” is the first of several pieces of legislation Landgraf plans to file during the 2023 legislative session to defend Texas energy.

“The goal of HB 33 is to ensure no Texas state taxpayer dollars or resources are used to implement any new federal regulations on oil and gas production in Texas,” Landgraf said. “The Biden Administration has Texas energy in its crosshairs, and we need to make sure that we aren’t supplying them with ammunition.”

House Bill 33 prohibits Texas state agencies and officials from contracting with or providing assistance to any federal agency or official regarding the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation regulating oil and gas operations if the regulation is not already existing law.

“Texas oil and gas production provides billions of dollars of tax revenue and directly or indirectly employs Texans in every corner of the state,” Landgraf continued. “We produce oil and natural gas cleaner, safer, and with more concern for human life and dignity than any other major oil producing region on earth. The Texas Energy Independence Act will help preserve the Texas economy, and, hopefully, the United States of America as a global force for good.”

Landgraf and the other members of the Texas legislature will convene for the 88th Texas Legislative Session on January 10, 2023. Members of the Texas House and Texas Senate may file bills for the 2023 legislative session as early as November 14, 2022. The Texas legislature meets at the Texas Capitol building for a 140-day regular session beginning the second Tuesday in January every odd-numbered year to vote on proposed legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf Announces 2022 Town Hall Schedule

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) provides the following schedule of upcoming Town Hall events in the four counties (Ector, Loving, Ward, and Winkler) he serves in the Texas House of Representatives. During these events, Rep. Landgraf will discuss the upcoming 2023 legislative session and take questions for those in attendance.

"In just two short months, the Texas legislature will convene for the 2023 session at the Texas capitol," Landgraf said. "It is my duty to serve as your voice in the Texas House of Representatives, and town hall events like these are a good way for me to hear directly from the constituents I'm sworn and honored to represent. I hope folks will come out and join us for a little community and some good conversation."

Loving County
WHEN:    Wednesday, November 9, 2022 | 6:00pm to 7:00pm
WHERE:  Loving County Courthouse Lawn
              100 Bell Street, Mentone, Texas 79754

Ward County
WHEN:    Thursday, November 10, 2022 | 6:00pm to 7:30pm
WHERE:  Ward County Event Center
              1525 East Monahans Parkway, Monahans, Texas 79756

Winkler County
WHEN:    Monday, November 14, 2022 | 6:00pm to 7:30pm
WHERE:  Winkler County Community Center
              308 Northwest 2nd Street, Wink, Texas 79789

Ector County
WHEN:    Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | 6:00 to 7:30pm
WHERE:  La Margarita
              1301 South Grant Avenue, Odessa, Texas 79761

Barstow
WHEN:    Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | 6:00 to 7:30pm
WHERE:  Barstow Community Hall
              100 Concho Street, Barstow, Texas 79719


Landgraf, Speaker Phelan Push Back Against Federal Overreach in the Permian Basin

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) spoke to a crowd of oil and gas workers in Odessa on Thursday regarding the potential non-attainment designation of portions of the Texas Permian Basin by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“The Permian Basin is on the frontlines of Biden’s war on American energy,” Speaker Phelan said. “Biden’s EPA is grasping at straws, using out-of-state data to force additional and unnecessary regulations on Texas oil and natural gas production. This will hurt the United States just as much as it will hurt Texas; impacting upstream communities here in the Permian Basin and downstream communities like my hometown of Beaumont, of course, but also daily life on the U.S. east and west coasts and everywhere in between. I’m here today to publicly take a stand and affirm that the Texas House will fight to protect the Permian Basin because it is the right thing to do for Texas, for our country, and for freedom.”

In June, citing data obtained from air quality monitors in New Mexico, the EPA announced its intention to consider redesignating the Texas portion of the Permian Basin as a “non-attainment” area – an area that does not meet the standards of the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). If finalized, this proposal would require the state implement a plan to bring the area into attainment with the NAAQS, ultimately resulting in further regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin that could slow production and reduce supply. The announced action is discretionary, meaning there is no law requiring the EPA to take this action, and that the president has the authority to stop the EPA’s rogue action.

“The EPA is acting against U.S. economic and national security interests, and, ironically, environmental interests as well,” Landgraf said. “I’m thankful Speaker Phelan is fighting for Texas energy and defending the Permian Basin. When the game is on the line, you want your best players out on the field, so I’m thankful we have the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives on our team.”

“The EPA has messed with Texas, and Texas is fighting back,” Landgraf concluded.

If President Biden does not direct the EPA to stand down, the next step of the redesignation process, according to the Clean Air Act, is a notification letter sent to the governors of Texas and New Mexico, creating the opportunity for affected states to provide feedback. The EPA then has to wait at least 240 days before a final redesignation decision can be made.


Landgraf Calls for EPA to be Reined In

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to President Joseph Biden regarding the potential non-attainment designation of portions of the Texas Permian Basin by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letter was also signed by seven other members of the Texas House who represent portions of the Permian Basin.

“We implore you to take necessary action as our nation’s chief executive to rein in the [EPA] and prevent this discretionary action from taking place,” the letter reads. “A non-attainment designation of the Permian Basin is at odds with U.S. economic and national security interests, and, ironically, environmental interests as well.”

In June, citing data obtained from air quality monitors in New Mexico, the EPA announced its intention to consider redesignating the Texas portion of the Permian Basin as a “non-attainment” area – an area that does not meet the standards of the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). If finalized, this proposal would require the state implement a plan to bring the area into attainment with the NAAQS, ultimately resulting in further regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin that could slow production and reduce supply. The announced action is discretionary, giving the president the opportunity to prevent it from ultimately going into effect.

“As chairman of the Texas House Environmental Regulation Committee and a proud life-long West Texan, I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the people who live and work in the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “Here in West Texas, we want to breathe fresh air just as much as anyone on the west coast, and our great state has a long history of producing energy cleaner and more efficiently than any other region on earth. The EPA is ignoring this fact in favor of a Green New Deal-inspired fantasy that will ultimately cause the downfall of our nation if commonsense and reason do not prevail. I’m thankful we’re not alone in this fight for Texas energy and American freedom, as we have support from numerous members of the Texas legislature as well as Governor Abbott and Congressman Pfluger. We’ll keep fighting for what’s best for Texas, what’s best for the U.S.A.”

If President Biden does not direct the EPA to stand down, the next step of the redesignation process according to the Clean Air Act is a notification letter sent to the governors of Texas and New Mexico, creating the opportunity for affected states to provide feedback. The EPA then has to wait at least 240 days before a final redesignation decision can be made.


Landgraf Works with Local, State Leaders to Deliver Water Bottles to Odessa

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been working around the clock to coordinate efforts to fix the major line break that has left the city of Odessa without water and provide Odessans with the life-sustaining resource until the situation is resolved.

“This is a dangerous situation when you’re talking about a city of over 100,000 people without water in 100 degree heat,” Landgraf said. “While it’s certainly frustrating that this happened at all, so far I’ve been incredibly proud of how our community has responded. I’m confident water will be restored soon.”

Landgraf is coordinating with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to deliver shipments of water bottles to the city of Odessa. Landgraf has been in constant contact with city officials, hospital executives, local businesses and charities, and others to communicate directly with TDEM Chief Nim Kidd where water is needed most. Landgraf is also directly providing water to Odessa residents in need as a volunteer at the water distribution site set up by the city.

“Despite being out here in the desert, we’re better equipped to handle this situation than most communities,” Landgraf said. “We have a real sense love for our neighbors here in Odessa. We step up when times get tough and take care of each other. I’ll continue doing everything I can to keep people informed and hydrated until water is restored.”

In addition to coordinating water bottle delivery, Landgraf is receiving up-to-the-minute updates from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regarding the status of repairs and quality of the city’s water supply. TCEQ has regional staff on site to help with repairs and ensure the water is safe to drink after it is restored.

Landgraf encourages Odessans to look at the city’s Facebook page for updates on the status of the water outage, water boil notice, and the location of water distribution sites: https://www.facebook.com/cityofodessatx

Rep. Landgraf Meets with TDEM Chief Nim KiddRep. Landgraf discussing Odessa water outage with TDEM Chief Nim Kidd.

Rep. Landgraf Handing Out Water in OdessaRep. Landgraf handing out water at Odessa water distribution site.


Landgraf Appointed to Mass Violence Prevention Panel in Wake of Uvalde Massacre

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) was appointed to the House Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety by House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) today.

“I can think of nothing more important than the health and safety of Texas children,” Landgraf said. “No Texas parent, student or teacher should have to worry about our public schools being safe. I appreciate Speaker’s Phelan’s leadership on this most important matter and look forward to working with Chairman Lozano and my fellow committee members to find constitutional solutions that will make Texas classrooms a safe place.”

Six additional House members were appointed to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety – five of whom represent cities that have experienced a mass shooting in recent years. Speaker Phelan also issued a series of joint charges to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. The following members received appointments to the expanded committee:

- Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood, represents Santa Fe)
- Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso)
- Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde)
- Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin, represents Sutherland Springs)
- Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan today also established the Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting to conduct an examination into the circumstances surrounding the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The investigative committee, which possesses the power of subpoena and is authorized to conduct depositions and initiate discovery, has been tasked with collecting and analyzing evidence from law enforcement, making comprehensive findings, and reporting its conclusions as soon as possible to help inform the work of the House.

To view the joint charges for the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and the House Homeland & Public Safety Committee, click here:
https://house.texas.gov/_media/pdf/JOINT-CHARGES-ON-MASS-VIOLENCE-PREVENTION-AND-COMMUNITY-SAFETY.pdf

To view the amended proclamation for the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety, click here:
https://house.texas.gov/_media/pdf/PROCLAMATION-House-Select-Committee-on-Youth-Health-and-Safety-Amendment.pdf

To view the proclamation authorizing the creation of the Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, click here:
https://house.texas.gov/_media/pdf/PROCLAMATION-Robb-Investigative-Cmte.pdf


Straight Talk About Property Taxes

It’s that time of the year when tax appraisals have arrived. I’ve heard the concerns of so many West Texans when they saw the huge increase in their tax appraisal and I can tell you Shelby and I had the same experience. Seeing how much the appraised value of our home increased this year was a surprise.

But here is what’s important to know: a dramatic increase in your property appraisal does not mean your property tax bill will also increase dramatically. 

Yes, you read that right. The sticker shock from the tax appraisal you recently received likely won’t lead to the same sticker shock on your property tax bill.

I understand that might be hard to believe, so allow me to clear things up and provide some information you can hang your hat on. 

First, it is important to understand how your property tax bill is calculated. Your property tax bill is made up of two parts: the appraised value and tax rate applied by each local taxing entity. County appraisal districts appraise each property tract in the county, and taxing entities, like your local school district, city or county, for example, set the property tax rates. 

Your property tax bill – the revenue collected by local taxing entities – is calculated by multiplying the appraised value of your property by the entity’s tax rate. Below is the simple formula:

Appraised Value x Tax Rates = Your Property Tax Bill

With that understanding, here is something further to consider: the state does not levy or collect property tax rates. On the state level, however, my fellow lawmakers and I do set the ground rules that local governments in Texas must follow as they levy and collect property taxes. One of the largest property tax reforms in Texas History was enacted in 2019, and is known as SB 2.

I worked tirelessly to pass this bill into law which prohibits school districts from increasing REVENUE collected from property taxpayers by more than 2.5% from year to year without getting approval from voters. Similarly, city and county governments cannot increase REVENUE collected from property taxpayers by more than 3.5% without voter approval.

In other words, this state law will require local taxing entities (county, city, school district, etc.)  to either: REDUCE TAX RATES substantially to offset the increased property appraisals, or else get specific permission from the voters to allow a large tax hike.

Simply put, YOU the voter, are empowered.

I want to be fully transparent. This doesn’t mean that your property tax bill won’t increase, it just means that it will not be nearly as bad as you might fear based strictly on your valuation. Also, know that the 2.5% and 3.5% thresholds are based on the total revenue collected across the county or city, it’s not based on individual properties. That means that some property taxpayers may cross the threshold while the taxing entities remain under it, thereby avoiding a vote on the rate.

Nonetheless, the release of appraisal values is just the first step in a five-month process and there are opportunities along the way to use your voice.

If you are dissatisfied with your appraised value or if errors exist in the appraisal records regarding your property, you can file a Notice of Protest with the appraisal review board (ARB). While it’s likely that by this time the deadline to file a protest this year has passed, it is an important tool you should be aware of.

Furthermore, each taxing entity will have public hearings (usually in the late summer) to discuss tax rate settings, and you have the opportunity to participate in that process and voice your concerns. Local officials need to hear from us on local tax and government issues, just like I need to hear from you on state issues. The adoption of rates will happen in conjunction with the adoption of budgets in late summer/early fall.

I hope this gives you comfort that your property tax bill may not be as high as you were thinking. Remember that you are empowered throughout this process.

God bless Texas!

Brooks Landgraf


Landgraf Joins Wolf to Celebrate Winkler County Airport’s Award

WINK — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined Winkler County Judge Charles M. Wolf on Tuesday to celebrate the Winkler County Airport for receiving the state’s 2022 Most Improved Airport Award.

“Achievements like this are not possible without hard work and determination, something we have in spades out here in Winkler County,” Landgraf said. “Judge Wolf, members of the commissioners court and Winkler County employees are doing the work that needs to be done, making investments in their community with future generations in mind. It’s an honor to work alongside dedicated elected officials like Judge Wolf who truly care about serving their constituents and improving quality of life.”

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) presents the Most Improved Airport Award annually to the airport that has seen the most significant improvements thanks to local efforts and initiatives. Over the last five years, the Winkler County Airport has been transformed with renovation work on the terminal building, including a new AC system, complete roof replacement, and repairs to electrical and sanitation systems. Winkler County has invested more than $2 million to achieve these improvements.

“I’m grateful to receive this award from the state and appreciate TxDOT for recognizing the good work that has been done on our airport in recent years,” Winkler County Judge Wolf said. “We’ve made it a priority to improve our transportation infrastructure across the board here in Winkler County so that we can continue to be a hub for the state’s robust oil and gas industry long into the future.”

The Winkler County Airport started as a dirt runway before becoming a military training base during World War II. The airport is a key piece of the region’s infrastructure, serving as a landing spot for aircraft traveling from across the country, including the military and international businesses. Winkler County is uniquely situated near the center of the Permian Basin – the world’s most productive oilfield.