State Rep. Landgraf Seeks Re-Election, Citing Crucial Time for West Texas

ODESSA - State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) issued the following statement on Tuesday announcing his plans to run for re-election, ending speculation that he will run for Congress in 2020:

“After weeks of prayers and countless discussions regarding where I can serve most effectively and immediately as a strong, conservative voice for West Texas, I’m proud to announce I am running for re-election as state representative.

“I’m grateful for the outpouring of encouragement from so many fellow West Texans to take my hard work, transparency and proven record of conservative accomplishments to the federal level and run for Congress. Shelby and I gave more than a month of serious thought and prayerful consideration to that idea.

“However, now more than ever, Odessa and our corner of West Texas needs a proven leader who can cut through the bureaucracy and get things done on the state level. I’ve helped deliver record-breaking state funding for Permian Basin roads and schools, ushered property tax reform, and protected life at every turn.

“But despite that success I’ve achieved on your behalf in a few short years in the Texas House of Representatives, there’s more work to be done. West Texas needs additional infrastructure funding, continual protection against tax increases, and someone who has the creativity and conservative principles to protect our constitutional rights while promoting public safety. I refuse to leave this crucial work incomplete. I cannot abandon the four counties I proudly serve in the Texas House of Representatives during this critical time.

“After my faith and my family, the people of West Texas are my priority. I’m not interested in advancing a political career just because I can. Instead, I believe in serving others and applying my conservative grit and proven experience in a place where I can be the most effective for West Texas. Right now, that place is in the Texas Capitol and that’s why I’m called to continue serving in the Texas House of Representatives.

“I’m more inspired than ever to fight for West Texas and our state. I humbly ask for your vote and continued support to serve as your state representative.”


Governor signs Landgraf's bill increasing penalty for assaults against pregnant women

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf's (R-Odessa) legislation aimed at making it a felony to assault a pregnant woman in Texas was signed in to law by Governor Greg Abbott on Monday.

House Bill 902, authored by Landgraf, makes it a third degree felony for assaulting a pregnant woman if the actor knew the woman was pregnant at the time of the assault. A third degree felony is punishable by between two and ten years in prison.

"I want to make sure we create a greater deterrent for assaults of this kind and protect both the pregnant mother and her child," Landgraf said. “In my view, this new law reflects the fact that this heinous act is a crime against both the mother and her unborn child."

Currently, the assault of a pregnant woman is treated like any other assault, as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail. HB 902 seeks to ensure that the punishment fits the crime by increasing the penalty for knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman.

"I appreciate the Governor signing this pro-life bill that helps protect women from violence," Landgraf added.

HB 902 takes effect September 1, 2019.


Landgraf has most successful legislative session yet

AUSTIN — For 140 days every other year, the Texas Legislature meets in Austin to work on crafting policy that is intended to improve the state and lives of Texans.  Memorial Day marked not just a day to honor fallen American warriors but also the end of the 86th legislative session. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) worked throughout the session to help pass a conservative balanced state budget along with several key pieces of legislation.

"Representing and fighting for the people of Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler counties in the legislature has been an honor and a privilege," Landgraf said. "This session I was proud to work on the issues that really matter to the people of West Texas.”

Among the highlights of legislation passed this session: a balanced state budget, property tax cuts, transformative school finance reform with a reduction in the "Robin Hood" scheme, anti-domestic violence legislation dubbed "Monica's Law" (named after Monica Demming of Odessa), anti-human trafficking legislation, taxpayer protection legislation aimed at reducing the number of bridge strikes, legislation increasing the criminal penalty for assaulting a pregnant woman, and funding for transportation and education institutions, as well as for understaffed DPS driver license offices in the Permian Basin to help address long wait times.

"This is has been my most successful legislative session yet, and I'm looking forward to getting back home to West Texas to talk in more detail about what we were able to accomplish and what I'm going to be working on next session to build on these accomplishments," Landgraf added.


Governor Abbott signs "Monica's Law"

AUSTIN — “Monica’s Law,” aimed at preventing domestic violence, was signed in to law by Governor Greg Abbott late on Tuesday. The legislation, authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), will create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence after a due-process hearing.

Monica Deming, the inspiration behind the legislation, was murdered on November 29, 2015 in an act of domestic violence. Monica, a 32 year-old mother, was shot and killed in her Odessa home by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret.

"Monica's Law will save lives and protect countless Texans from domestic abusers," said Governor Greg Abbott. "Nothing is more important than the safety and security of Texans, and we must do everything we can to protect innocent people from violent individuals. I am grateful to Representative Landgraf for his leadership on this issue, and I am honored to continue the legacy of Monica Deming by signing HB 629 into law."

"Monica’s Law" establishes a statewide registry where certain redacted information can be accessed by the public, but also one where law enforcement and the courts have access to all of the information provided by protective-order applicants. Information is only available after due process has been given to the abuser in a judicial proceeding.

“Monica’s Law will save lives, and I'm grateful to Governor Abbott for his leadership in signing this anti-domestic violence legislation in to law," Landgraf said.

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Landgraf's anti-human trafficking bill fully enacted by Texas Legislature

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf's (R-Odessa) anti-human trafficking legislation, House Bill 888, was passed by the Texas House and the Texas Senate on Thursday and will become law unless vetoed by the governor.

While it is clear the state of Texas has greatly improved its ability to fight human trafficking, HB 888, authored by Landgraf, seeks to aid in this fight by making it a crime to misrepresent a minor as a family member to law enforcement at a port of entry. The offense created by HB 888 is a Class B misdemeanor.

"I am proud to take this important step in ensuring that children don't fall victim to such a grave violation of human rights," Landgraf said.

According to the Texas Attorney General, there are more than 75,000 minors in Texas who are currently victims of sex trafficking. These child victims are often tricked by their captors to coerce them to cooperate and not run to law enforcement. Therefore, when the opportunity arises for a child to speak up to authorities at a port of entry, they remain silent as their captor tells the customs officer the child is their son or daughter.

The final version of HB 888 that will be sent to the governor does not include any provisions related to Medicaid benefits. The controversial amendment added to the bill by a Democratic House member was struck by the Texas Senate at Landgraf's request. Landgraf then led to ratify the cleaned-up bill.

Unless vetoed by the governor, HB 888 would take effect September 1, 2019.


Landgraf-sponsored bill to protect Second Amendment and property rights passes to governor

AUSTIN — Legislation sponsored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) that will protect the Second Amendment and property rights of property owners was passed by the Texas Legislature with resounding support on Wednesday and now goes to Governor Greg Abbott for final approval.

Senate Bill 741, authored by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and sponsored by Landgraf, prohibits a homeowners or property owners association from disallowing the already lawful possession, transportation, or storage of firearms in homes in the neighborhood.

“This bill seeks to simultaneously protect property rights and our Second Amendment rights," Landgraf said. "I was proud to sponsor it in the Texas House and thank Sen. Hughes for his leadership."

When a person buys a home in a new neighborhood, that purchase often comes with a set of deed restrictions for the neighborhood. These restrictions customarily require you to mow your lawn, not have an RV in your yard, and any number of other provisions designed to promote and protect the character of the neighborhood. SB 741 is necessary to prevent firearms-related restrictions from being included in those restrictions.

“I’m thankful to a constituent from Ector County for presenting the idea for this bill four years ago after an abusive POA infringed on his family’s rights," Landgraf added.

Unless vetoed by the governor, SB 741 would take effect September 1, 2019.


Landgraf's Bridge Strike Bill fully enacted by Texas Legislature

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf's (R-Odessa) legislation aimed at reducing the number of overpass strikes due to over-height semi-trucks by holding those drivers or their employers liable for the costly damage will become Texas Law unless vetoed by the governor.

Previously, the House Transportation Committee, of which Landgraf is vice chair, unanimously passed House Bill 799 before it was passed by the Texas House and the Texas Senate. HB 799, authored by Landgraf, seeks to hold the owner of the vehicle strictly liable for any damage to a bridge or overpass caused by the height of the vehicle. The driver of the over-height vehicle could also be charged with a misdemeanor crime.

"I'm grateful to my colleagues for supporting what is clearly a common sense measure that will hold vehicle owners strictly liable for the cost of the repairs so that taxpayers aren't stuck footing the bill," Landgraf said.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2018, there were at least 82 overpass strikes across the state. Meanwhile, over the five previous years from 2013 and 2017, there averaged just 31 overpass strikes a year.

Unless vetoed by the governor, HB 799 would take effect September 1, 2019.


Landgraf & Craddick's "GROW Texas" Resolution passes Texas House

AUSTIN — House Joint Resolution 82, part of the "GROW Texas" legislative package authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland), was approved by the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday. HJR 82, which creates the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth for Texas (GROW Texas) fund passed out of the House by a vote of 121-13.

The "GROW Texas" legislation would bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to energy-producing hotbeds across the state. The legislation considers directing state funds to make drastically needed improvements to roads, boost public safety, enhance educational opportunities across energy producing areas, as well as reduce infrastructure bottlenecks.

In the 2020-21 Biennial Revenue Estimate, Comptroller Glenn Hegar states: "total Texas oil production is expected to increase at slower rates through 2021 due to infrastructure bottlenecks in the Permian Basin."

"The regions of Texas responsible for the state's oil and gas production have experienced significant challenges that limit the growth of the energy sector and could pose a significant threat to the long-term success of the industry and the state," Landgraf said. "It is in the best interest of Texas to protect this vital source of revenue for the state and 'Grow Texas' is a big step forward to address those challenges."


"Monica's Law" fully enacted by Texas Legislature

AUSTIN — “Monica’s Law,” aimed at preventing domestic violence, passed the Texas House of Representatives and will become Texas law unless vetoed by the governor. The legislation authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) will create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence after a due-process hearing.

Monica Deming, the inspiration behind the legislation, was murdered on November 29, 2015 in an act of domestic violence. Monica, a 32 year-old mother, was shot and killed in her Odessa home by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret.

Landgraf began crafting this legislation after being approached by Monica’s father, Jon Nielsen, a former Odessa police officer. Nielsen pleaded that, had a database been available, he and Monica would have been able to know that her abuser had a history of domestic violence. Together Landgraf and Monica’s family have been fighting for this legislation for more than three years.

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Landgraf's "GROW Texas Fund" Bill moves forward

AUSTIN — On Wednesday, the Texas House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed House Bill 2154, legislation authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), whose goal is to bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to energy-producing hotbeds across the state. The legislation considers directing state funds to make drastically needed improvements to roads, boost public safety, enhance educational opportunities across energy producing areas, as well as reduce infrastructure bottlenecks at Texas ports.

"I'm grateful to my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee who clearly agree that we need to reinvest in energy producing areas in order to keep Texas strong," Landgraf said. "I'm proud of the growing support from across the state."

HB 2154 is aimed at creating the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth for Texas Fund— the “GROW Texas Fund.” The GROW Texas Fund would not raise or create taxes. Instead, it secures existing state revenue paid by oil and gas producers through severance taxes for specific re-investment in the Texas oil patch that has been strained to the brink by record-breaking production in recent years. That money would then be used exclusively to: expand and improve highways and public roads, increase law-enforcement and first responder salaries, and revitalize education and skilled-workforce opportunities by dedicating money to teachers, schools, colleges and universities.

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