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:
To view the amended proclamation for the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety, click here:
To view the proclamation authorizing the creation of the Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, click here:
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!
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.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been endorsed for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives by the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) Political Action Committee.
“As state representative, I swore an oath to preserve and protect the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution,” Landgraf said. “I take that oath seriously, and have endeavored to take every opportunity to defend the constitutional rights of Texans as a result. It’s an honor to have TSRA’s endorsement based on my work to preserve and protect Second Amendment rights here in Texas.”
TSRA is considered the premier firearms association in Texas, with tens of thousands of members from across the state, including individuals from all walks of life who have a common goal in protecting the rights of the law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. The TSRA Political Action Committee works to educate elected officials, the media, and the general public about issues relating to the freedoms guaranteed by the Second Amendment and the Texas Constitution.
“Representative Landgraf has fought for the Second Amendment rights of Texans since the moment he first took the oath of office,” TSRA executive director Dianna Greenwood said. “He’s a leader in the Texas House, especially when it comes to the constitutional rights of Texans. TSRA is proud to endorse Representative Landgraf for re-election knowing full well he will continue to defend our constitutional right to bear arms in Texas.”
During the 2021 Texas legislative session, Landgraf supported efforts to expand the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans by co-authoring House Bill 2622 to make Texas a Second Amendment sanctuary state and supported House Bill 1927, also known as “Constitutional Carry.” Both bills were signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
“I’ll continue standing strong for the right of law-abiding Texans to be able to defend themselves and protect their families,” Landgraf continued. “Texas now has some of the strongest 2A protections in the nation. I’m proud to live in a state where freedom and personal responsibility are prioritized, and I’ll keep working hard to make sure it stays that way.”
In addition to being endorsed by the TSRA PAC, Landgraf has also secured an “A” rating and endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the 2022 primary and general elections. Landgraf is the only candidate in his race with those distinctions.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been endorsed for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives by the Texas Oil & Gas Association Good Government Committee, the Texas Alliance Oil & Gas Political Action Committee and the Oil & Gas Workers Association.
“Born and raised in the Permian Basin, I have a deep understanding and appreciation for the importance of the Texas oil and gas industry,” Landgraf said. “As I’ve said many times before, the Permian Basin is the goose that lays the golden egg for Texas. I’m blessed to be able to call the oil patch home and I’ll keep fighting to protect Texas energy jobs no matter what.”
Landgraf was appointed chairman of the powerful House Environmental Regulation Committee in 2021. As chairman, Landgraf killed Green New Deal legislation that would harm the Texas oil and gas industry, refusing to allow any such bill to get a hearing or pass out of his committee.
Landgraf also authored and passed House Bill 4472 to allow industry and innovation to flourish without the threat of shutdown from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Clean Air Activism–policy that allows Texas to balance its environment and economy in a way that’s beneficial to both.
“Those on the left are cutting off their nose to spite their face by attempting to phase out oil and gas production in the name of the environment,” Landgraf continued. “I will not stand idly by as our state and nation are made weaker and more dependent on foreign powers. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander: strengthening the Permian Basin oil and gas industry is in the best interest of the Great State of Texas and the United States of America. Period.”
In addition to passing HB 4472 and killing Green New Deal bills in 2021, Landgraf filed HB 1683 to prohibit any state resources from being used to implement or enforce new federal oil and gas regulations that are not already on the books. HB 1683 passed out of the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 110 to 33, but failed to pass out of the Senate before the conclusion of the regular session. Landgraf is committed to refiling the legislation in 2023.
“Energy independence is within our grasp, and we owe it to everyone from our Founding Fathers to future generations yet unborn to achieve this goal. I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone, using that work ethic I learned growing up in dusty, hot West Texas to protect Permian Basin jobs and secure energy independence for our children’s children,” Landgraf concluded.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been endorsed for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives by Texas Alliance for Life.
“Like most West Texans, I believe that every human life is a gift from God, and I’m unapologetically pro-life,” Landgraf said. “I’m thankful Texas Alliance for Life is part of the fight to protect the unborn in Texas and I’m proud to have their pro-life endorsement.”
Texas Alliance for Life is a nonprofit organization committed to protecting the fundamental right to life of all innocent human beings and to promoting respect for their value and dignity from the moment of conception until natural death. Dr. Joe Pojman is the founder and executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.
“State Representative Brooks Landgraf has been a champion for the unborn during his service to the state as a member of the Texas House of Representatives,” Dr. Pojman said. “His voting record speaks for itself, a man of faith and principle, Rep. Landgraf is someone we are proud to endorse in the 2022 primary and general elections. Texas needs more leaders like Brooks Landgraf.”
During the 2021 Texas legislative session, Landgraf supported several successful efforts to advance pro-life legislation including Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act. SB 8, which Landgraf co-sponsored, prohibits abortions from being performed or induced after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, protecting unborn babies from abortion. Landgraf also co-authored House Bill 1280 in 2021, which completely protects unborn babies from abortion if the Supreme Court overturns critical Supreme Court cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. SB 8 and HB 1280 both passed and were signed into law by Governor Abbott.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to protect the unborn in Texas,” Landgraf continued. “I’ll continue to work hard to see that any legislation that promotes life and protects the unborn is passed into law. That means protecting babies, of course, but also protecting mothers. I’m committed to doing what it takes to make Texas the best place to live, work and raise a family in the 21st century.”
In addition to aiding in the passage of HB 1280 and SB 8 in 2021, Landgraf filed and passed House Bill 902 in 2019, which increased the penalty for assaults against pregnant women to a third-degree felony to reflect that such a heinous act is a crime against both the mother and her unborn child. Prior to the passage of HB 902, assaults against pregnant women were treated like any other assault. During his time as state representative, Landgraf has also worked to provide additional funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, most recently supporting efforts to increase funding for the program by 25% to $100 million in the state budget for 2022-2023.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been endorsed for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives by Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis.
“Sheriff Griffs is dedicated to his community and serious about public safety,” Landgraf said. “It’s an honor to have his trust and confidence. I’ve supported law enforcement officers throughout my time as state representative, so I feel like I’m doing a good job when the county’s number one law man endorses me.”
During the 2021 legislative session, Landgraf filed House Bill 523 to allow county sheriffs in his district to be able to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards. This legislation was requested by sheriffs in Landgraf’s district, where heavy truck traffic from the energy industry brings both prosperity and public safety challenges to the region. County sheriffs and deputy sheriffs in the counties of Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler are now eligible to apply for certification to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards thanks to Landgraf’s work in 2021.
“Representative Landgraf is a man of his word,” Sheriff Griffis said. “He walks the walk and talks the talk. He doesn’t just say he supports law enforcement, he takes action. He is the best man to represent our community in the Texas House.”
In addition to Sheriff Griffis’ endorsement, Landgraf has been endorsed for re-election by Ward County Sheriff Frarin Valle, Winkler County Sheriff Darin Mitchell and Andrews County Sheriff Rusty Stewart, meaning he has the support of every sheriff in his West Texas district.
“He’s a man of action, he gets things done and truly cares about law enforcement and doing what he can to keep people safe. He’s Permian Basin homegrown, and it shows. I know he has our back,” Ward County Sheriff Valle said of Landgraf.
“Landgraf picks up the phone when I call and always acts fast to ensure we have everything we need from the state. We have a strong working relationship and a strong voice in the Texas House,” Winkler County Sheriff Mitchell said.
“Andrews County is thankful to have a state representative who is willing to go to bat for us. We have been well-represented by Representative Landgraf,” Andrews County Sheriff Stewart said.
Landgraf has also been endorsed for re-election in 2022 by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) and the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA). In addition to authoring HB 523 and sponsoring SB 901 to support local law enforcement during the 87th Texas Legislative Session in 2021, Landgraf co-authored House Bill 1900 to penalize cities that try to defund their police departments. The bill eventually passed, going into effect on September 1, 2021.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath on Friday calling for a suspension of STAAR testing during the 2021-2022 school year.
“I’ve always opposed high-stakes testing,” Landgraf said. “We have all of the same reasons to suspend the STAAR test in 2022 that we had in 2020, only now there seems to be even greater mental health concerns in our public schools. We need to cancel administration of the STAAR test in 2022, and take what we’ve learned from the last few years to come up with a different assessment method for the future.”
In 2020, after receiving calls to cancel the STAAR test from Landgraf and other legislators, Commissioner Morath obtained waivers from the U.S. Department of Education to waive statewide assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. States are required to assess student and teacher progress annually in order to draw down federal dollars for public education funding unless waivers are granted by the federal government.
“I understand that assessment is necessary, but the high stakes nature of our current system does not work, and that is especially true in times of crisis like we are experiencing now,” Landgraf continued. “That is why I have joined with West Texas students, parents and teachers in calling for the STAAR test to be cancelled in 2020, 2021, and now again in 2022, and why I will continue fighting to eliminate high stakes testing when the legislature reconvenes for the next legislative session.”
In 2021, Landgraf joint-authored House Bill 764, which would have reduced testing requirements as much as allowable by federal law, eliminating the writing tests for 4th and 7th graders as well as the social studies test for 8th graders and replacing end-of-course exams for high schoolers with a process to allow high school students to take the SAT or ACT instead. HB 764 passed out of the Texas House of Representatives with overwhelming support, 136-6, but was not taken up for consideration in the Texas Senate prior to the end of the 87th Texas Legislative Session. Members of the Texas House and Senate will convene at the Texas Capitol for the next legislative session on January 10, 2023.
ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) has been endorsed for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT).
“I’m always proud to Back the Blue. And it’s an honor to have them back me as I run for re-election,” Landgraf said. “The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas’ political action committee has endorsed me as their candidate in this election.”
Landgraf was informed of the endorsement in a letter, a portion of which reads, “The brave and courageous men and women of Texas law enforcement deserve representation, advocacy, and results they can count on. It is with pride that we endorse your campaign for State Representative of District 81.”
“CLEAT is the largest law enforcement organization in Texas, and they fight hard on the side of Texas police officers, sheriffs deputies, state troopers and other LEOs,” Landgraf continued. “I’m proud to be right there with them in that fight.”
During the 87th Texas Legislative Session in 2021, Landgraf co-authored House Bill 1900, a bill designed to penalize cities that try to defund their police departments. The bill eventually passed, going into effect on September 1, 2021.
ODESSA — The Texas Conservative Coalition is recognizing State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) for his leadership during the 87th Legislative Session and subsequent special sessions.
The Texas Conservative Coalition is known as the “Conservative Caucus” of the Texas Legislature. Following each session, TCC recognizes Courageous Conservatives based on record votes taken during the session that adhere to the caucus’s principles of limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and traditional values.
“Chairman Landgraf has one of the most conservative voting records in the Texas Legislature and is a steady, unwavering conservative voice in the Texas House of Representatives,” said State Representative James Frank (R- Wichita Falls) who chairs the Caucus, “Throughout the 87th Session and Special Sessions, Landgraf cut taxes, protected the unborn, defended the Second Amendment, prioritized securing our border, and stood strong in Texas’ fight to protect Texans from the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.”
“I’m 100% opposed to governments mandating COVID-19 vaccinations, and I believe that free people should be able to make the choice for themselves and their families,” Landgraf said. “That is why I have done everything within my constitutional authority as a state representative to fight back against the Biden administration’s unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”
Landgraf, coauthored House Bill 168 during the most recent session of the Texas Legislature to protect Texans from being forced to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to his leadership as a lawmaker, Landgraf has signed multiple briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals opposing the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates, including one that was spearheaded by the Texas Conservative Coalition.
The State of Texas, through the Texas Attorney General, has challenged each federal COVID-19 mandate in court. Governor Greg Abbott, through executive order, has forbidden Texas government entities and businesses from forcing vaccine mandates on Texans.
“I have supported and will continue to support the state’s successful legal challenges to vaccine mandates as the courts are the last venue available for this fight to play out absent a change in federal law,” Landgraf continued. “Like many Texans, I’m fed up with government overreach into our daily lives,” Landgraf said. “The Biden Administration has abandoned the limited government principles laid out in our Constitution.”
“If the governor exercises his constitutional prerogative—which only the governor has—to call a special session to further ban government mandates of the COVID-19 vaccine, I will proudly be there to again support that bill and vote for it,” Landgraf added.