Landgraf joins Abbott to honor five injured OPD officers

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott in honoring five Odessa police officers injured in the line of duty with the Star of Texas Award on Monday morning in a ceremony Monday morning at the Texas Capitol.

Detective Whitney Branch, Sgt. Pedro Gonzalez, Officer Donaciano Rocha, Cpl. Cory Wester and Officer Anthony Rossman, all with the Odessa Police Department, were each critically injured while serving in the line of duty in recent years. Each of these Star of Texas recipients survived their injuries and continue to serve Odessa on the police force.

The Star of Texas Awards are given each year to recognize first responders across the state who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.

In presenting the Odessa officers with the Star of Texas, Landgraf noted that the award represents the deep debt of gratitude that Texas has for their service and sacrifice. When your life was threatened, you heroically put the safety of others ahead of your own," Landgraf told the recipients. "Odessa and Texas are better and safer places because of your selfless bravery."


State Rep. Landgraf seeks re-election with focus on tax relief

Brooks_Landgraf_2017.jpgODESSA, TEXAS --- State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) announced Thursday that he will seek re-election to continue serving his fellow West Texans in House District 81, which consists of Andrews, Ector, Ward and Winkler counties.

Landgraf’s announcement comes after he completed months of successful work in the Texas House of Representatives to balance the state’s budget, without raising taxes, while passing landmark pro-life legislation among many other conservative measures.

“Many of the West Texans I’m proud to serve have encouraged me to continue my hard work,” Landgraf said. “After prayerful reflection, my wife, Shelby, and I decided that I will again ask the voters to elect me as their state representative.”

Landgraf, who was born and raised in Odessa, is part of a family that has been ranching in West Texas for five generations. He and his wife, Shelby, continue to live and work in Odessa while raising their 2-year old daughter, Hollis Rose. Landgraf has served as state representative since 2015, taking pride in being an effective conservative who also gives West Texas a strong voice at the state’s Capitol.

Brooks_Landgraf_family_2017.jpg

“I’m proud of Texas,” Landgraf boasted. “But I also realize that if we want to keep Texas the best state in America to live, work and raise a family, we must ensure government operates within its means, performs its limited functions efficiently, and stays out of people’s way.”

When asked what he will focus on if re-elected, Landgraf indicated property-tax reform will be a top priority. “For as long as I've served as a state representative, I’ve fought for taxpayers,” Landgraf noted. “However, high property taxes on homes and businesses are threatening our wallets and the Texas economy. I will work to cut the need for higher property taxes by working to fix the way we finance schools in Texas.”

“I’m confident we can kill two birds with one stone: provide property-tax relief to Texas property owners and improve education for Texas students,” Landgraf said.


Landgraf to host town hall in Odessa

State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) will host a town hall in Odessa on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 in Odessa. The town hall, which is open to the public, will be held from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Odessa College in the Zant Community Room in the Saulsbury Campus Center, 201 W. University Blvd.

The town hall will serve as an opportunity for West Texans to share their views with their state representative about the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature.

"I encourage everyone to come to the town hall to discuss the many issues we successfully resolved earlier this year, as well as the items the governor has asked us to address in the special session," Landgraf said.

Gov. Greg Abbott has called legislators back to the Capitol for special session that will convene on July 18th, and last for up to 30 days. The governor alone may place items on the agenda for the special session, and Gov. Abbott has listed 20 items, including bathroom/privacy legislation, property tax rollback-election reform and mail-in ballot fraud prevention.

WHO: State Representative Brooks Landgraf
WHAT: Hosts public town hall
WHEN: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Odessa College -- Zant Community Room in the Saulsbury Campus Center (201 W. University Odessa, TX 79764)


Texas energy highlighted with a win in the Legislature

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) secured a win for Texas energy with the passage of the Texas Fuels bill, just before the deadline to pass legislation expired. For the first time, Texas will commit to providing state grants for governmental entities to purchase vehicles that utilize the abundant natural gas widely found in the state.

“Our state is the largest energy producer in our nation and utilizing Texas based fuels will support Permian Basin oil and gas producers by providing another market for their products and will help create jobs and grow our economy," Landgraf said after the bill’s passage.

The legislation authorizes the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to assist in the conversion of government vehicle fleets to run on natural gas and other Texas based fuels that are produced in the Permian Basin and across the state.

The Texas Fuels bill will not raise taxes or fees for Texas taxpayers. Instead, the grants will come from an existing, underutilized state fund, which was established to reduce vehicle emissions in Texas.

"I am proud to be a leader for Texas energy and to represent the pro-production views of the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “Our state should be a good steward of our natural resources and ensure that we are doing everything we can to utilize Texas energy resources.”

Now that the Texas Fuels bill has passed both the Texas House and Senate, it will head to the Governor's desk.


Landgraf wins fight to save UTPB funding

UTPB_funding_saved._Landgraf_welcomes_incoming_president__Dr._Sandra_Woodley.jpgState Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) announced Friday with the publication of the final draft of the agreed-upon state budget, that he successfully secured favorable funding for the University of Texas at the Permian Basin.

“UTPB is worth fighting for,” Landgraf said. “Not only does it provide a quality and affordable education to its students, it’s also an indispensable part of our community in Odessa.” 

Early during the budgeting process in the Texas Legislature this year, UTPB was threatened with significant funding cuts in various budget proposals. One Texas Senate budget draft would have cut the university’s state funding in half.

In the final budget, most state universities were forced to take cuts that reduced their funding by up to ten percent from the previous budget, but Landgraf’s efforts on behalf of UTPB mean that the Odessa-based university will only face a two-percent cut.

In pleading the importance of UTPB to West Texas, Landgraf persuaded colleagues on the House appropriations committee to increase funding for the crucial day-to-day operations of the university. UTPB relies heavily on “special” budget items for it operations, and those items require specific support in the Texas Legislature. Without funding UTPB’s special items in the state budget, the university stood to lose millions of dollars over the next two years.

While the final draft of the 2018-2019 biennial budget has been agreed upon, it still requires a final vote of approval from the Texas House and Senate. That final vote is expected this weekend, then the budget will be presented to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.

"Keeping UTPB’s funding in place in this budget to this degree is vital to the future of the university,” Landgraf said. “I also want to thank Rep. Tom Craddick, who fought to get new funds for the new UTPB engineering programs on the CEED campus, and Sen. Kel Seliger who led this effort in the Texas Senate.”


Landgraf passes “Monica's Law” just before deadline in Texas House

Monicas_Law_Passes_House.jpgThursday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) passed “Monica's Law” out of the Texas House of Representatives. Monica’s Law would create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence.

Monica Deming, the namesake behind the proposed law, was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. He shot and killed the 32 year-old mother in her Odessa home on November 29, 2015, several weeks after she broke off the relationship. At least two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret by gaming the current system.

Landgraf began crafting the 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.

With the deadline to pass bills quickly approaching, Landgraf maneuvered to amend another bill by adding the provisions of Monica’s Law to ensure that it passed in the House before the midnight deadline on Thursday night.

If Monica’s Law is passed in the Texas Senate, it would establish a statewide registry where certain redacted information can be accessed by the public, and 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 cannot go back and save Monica’s life, or take away her family’s grief, but it can help prevent others from entering into tragically abusive relationships,” Landgraf said. “That’s why I used every legislative tool available to get Monica’s Law passed out of the House.”


Slain victim’s family members testify in support of Monica’s Law

Family_testifies_for_Monicas_Law.jpg“Monica's Law,” filed as House Bill 2315, is awaiting a vote after being presented in a Texas House committee. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed the legislation to prevent domestic violence by increasing accessibility to information about individuals with a history of domestic violence. The bill aims to create a publicly searchable database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts.

Late on the evening of Monday, April 24th, Rep. Landgraf presented Monica's Law, to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Monica's father, along with her sister and brother, traveled to Austin to share their personal stories of loss and testify in favor of the bill.

“I filed this legislation after working closely with Monica’s family and I'm proud of them for coming to the Texas Capitol to share their story,” Landgraf said. “By providing gripping testimony, they are helping turn tragedy into triumph by helping prevent others from becoming victims of domestic violence.”

"There is nothing we can do to bring Monica back, but maybe this could save somebody else," Jon Nielsen, Monica’s father and a retired Odessa police officer, stated in front of the committee.

Monica Deming, the namesake behind the proposed law, was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. He shot and killed the 32 year-old mother in her Odessa home on November 29, 2015, several weeks after she broke off the relationship. At least two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret by gaming the current system.

“Monica had no clue of his violent and abusive past; he was a seasoned predator and he knew exactly how to hide it from her and her family," explained Jenny Dorsey, Monica's sister.Monicas_Family_with_Rep_Landgraf.jpg

Monica’s Law would establish a statewide registry of protective orders, where certain redacted information could be publicly accessed, and where law enforcement and the courts have access to all of the information provided by approved protective orders. The information would only be available after due process has been given to the abuser in a judicial proceeding. 

"It's too late to do anything for my sister now, but it's not too late for my daughter, my other sister, my mother, your daughters, your sisters, or your mother," Paul Nielsen, Monica's brother, implored the committee. 

Monica’s Law could be approved by the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee as early as next week, and then it could be scheduled for debate in the Texas House floor. 


Landgraf's bill to name Highway 191 for Chris Kyle passes Texas House

Landgrafs_bill_to_name_Highway_191_for_Chris_Kyle_passes.JPGOn Thursday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) won passage of House Bill 1483, which would name Highway 191 in Ector County as the "Chris Kyle Memorial Highway." The stretch of highway in Odessa runs directly adjacent to the new Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza.

The bill to honor the life and service of the former Navy SEAL was passed by a vote of 142 to 0 in the Texas House of Representatives.

“I am honored that my colleagues in the Texas House unanimously supported this bill to memorialize a native Odessan and American hero, Chris Kyle," Landgraf said.

Kyle is considered one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. history, with 160 confirmed enemy kills. Chris Kyle spent countless hours as a leader helping his fellow veterans with their transition back into civilian life. His life story was portrayed in the film “American Sniper.”

The bill will now be considered in the Texas Senate, where Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) will take the lead on the legislation.


Landgraf aims to strengthen punishment for assaults on pregnant women

State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) on Thursday filed House Bill 3539, which would make it a third-degree felony to assault a pregnant woman in Texas. Current state law only classifies that crime as a Class A misdemeanor.

Landgraf filed the bill after a local prosecutor, Kortney Williams, asked for the law to be changed to provide a tool against someone who assaults a pregnant woman. 

"This bill is a clear statement that when a pregnant woman is assaulted, both the mother and the unborn child are victims, and a more severe punishment for the attacker is justified,” Landgraf said.

Landgraf’s bill seeks to protect both the pregnant mother and her child, but also create a greater deterrent for assaults of this kind.

If Landgraf’s bill is passed by the Texas Legislature, the new law would take effect on September 1, 2017. 


Landgraf files "Monica's Law" to prevent domestic violence

Thursday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed legislation aimed at preventing domestic violence. “Monica's Law,” as Landgraf has dubbed it, would create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence.

Monica Nielsen Deming

Monica Deming, the inspiration behind the legislation, was murdered in an act of domestic violence. Monica, a 32 year-oldmother, was shot and killed in her Odessa home by an abusive ex-boyfriend on November 29, 2015. 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.

Monica’s Law, filed as House Bill 2315, 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 cannot go back and save her life, or take away her family’s grief, but it can help prevent others from entering into tragically abusive relationships that can lead to physical violence, and worse, death,” Landgraf said. “While we should fight to end domestic and family violence, we should also provide the public the tools to protect themselves and the criminal justice system the ability to protect others.”