Landgraf and Mass Violence Committee Meet in Wake of Odessa Shooting

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined other legislators in the first hearing of the recently-created House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety on Tuesday at the Texas Capitol. The purpose of the committee is to receive testimony and make proposals to the Texas Legislature to help reduce the occurrence and impact of mass violence.

"This hearing is the next step in gathering feedback from the public and law enforcement to ultimately propose policies that promote public safety while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans," Landgraf said. "I want to make sure that the voices of Odessans and West Texans are heard during these proceedings."

The House Select Committees on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety was created earlier this month following the deadly shootings in El Paso and Odessa. In addition to regular committee hearings at the Texas Capitol in Austin, the committee announced it will also conduct hearings throughout the state, including at least one hearing in Odessa.


Wounded Ector Co. Deputies Honored by Abbott and Landgraf in 9/11 Ceremony

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined Governor Greg Abbott to present a prestigious state award to five deputies from the Ector County Sheriff's Office who had been shot in the line of duty.

Investigator Cody Smith, Investigator Javier Leyva, Investigator Joshua Devin Pool, Reserve Deputy Ricardo Rodriguez, and Captain Steven John McNeill of the Ector County Sheriff's Office were each presented with the 2019 Star of Texas Award in the Texas House of Representatives chamber Wednesday morning.

"The willingness of our law enforcement officers to put themselves in harm's way to protect our community is the ultimate testament to duty and sacrifice," Landgraf said. "I'm thankful to have such brave men and women in uniform for the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, and I am forever grateful to all those who work daily to keep Texans safe."

Investigator Smith, Investigator Pool and Reserve Deputy Rodriguez were all injured during the execution of a search warrant on January 14, 2019 when a known narcotics dealer opened fire in the 7300 block of Kentucky Avenue in West Odessa. After sustaining gun shot wounds the deputies returned fire, killing the man.

Investigator Leyva was shot in the leg on August 8, 2014. Leyva was in pursuit of a suspect charged with deadly conduct, when he was shot near the intersection of 10th and West Loop 338 in Odessa

And on September 17, 2010, Captain McNeill was shot in the shoulder in West Odessa by a landowner upset with a local company.

The Star of Texas awards were created by the Legislature in 2003. Since then, more than 500 brave Texans have been honored with the recognition.

Pictured in the photo from left to right is Investigator Smith, Captain McNeill, Sheriff Griffis, Investigator Pool, Investigator Leyva, and Reserve Deputy Rodriguez.


Landgraf Announces Town Hall Schedule

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) provides the following schedule of upcoming Town Hall events in the four counties (Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler) he serves in the Texas House of Representatives. During these events, Rep. Landgraf will provide a brief on the state's response to the August 31 tragedy in Odessa and discuss the 2019 legislative session. Rep. Landgraf encourages his fellow West Texans to take this opportunity to share their thoughts.

"Now, more than ever, it is important for West Texans to hear directly from their elected officials," Landgraf said. "These town halls are an opportunity for folks to share their thoughts and concerns as we work together to heal as a community.”

Ward County
WHEN:      Monday, September 9, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:    Ward County Event Center
                   1525 East Monahans Parkway, Monahans, Texas

Andrews County
WHEN:      Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:    Andrews Business & Technology Center
                   201 NW Avenue D, Andrews, Texas

Odessa
WHEN:      Monday, September 23, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:    Odessa College, Saulsbury Campus Center (Joe Zant Room)
                   201 W University Blvd., Odessa, Texas

West Odessa
WHEN:      Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:    Kellus Turner Community Center
                   2262 West Sycamore Drive, Odessa, Texas

Winkler County
WHEN:      Monday, September 30, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:    Poor Daddy's BBQ
                   123 N. Mulberry, Kermit, TX


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.”


We Will Rise

Odessa, Texas is a dry, dusty, scrub-brush-covered piece of desert with hardly a natural tree or body of water in sight. But to me, the people here make this the most beautiful spot on earth.

The elements, coupled with our relative remoteness, make Odessa a more difficult place to live than most. That’s why we tend to attract strong and resilient folks who like to work hard and play hard. That’s what it takes to make it here. We boast with pride about our families and our successes, but we are also humble enough to submit to the sovereignty of God, and charitable enough to always help our brothers and sisters in times of need.

On Saturday, our community and region were beset by a force of evil. A mobile rampage indiscriminately killed innocent lives and left countless families grieving.

But in the face of such daunting darkness, the people of Odessa emerged as a bright light for all the world to see.

Brave first responders, surrounded by a fury of chaos, risked their own lives to save others by getting the wounded to safety and neutralizing the source of our pain before even more untold damage could be done. God bless the men and women of the Odessa Police Department, Odessa Fire Rescue, the Midland Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Trauma teams at Medical Center Hospital, Odessa Regional Medical Center and Midland Memorial Hospital treated dozens of wounded patients with a calm efficiency that saved lives and allowed some families to be reunited even before the sun set on Saturday night.

Kind people from all across the Permian Basin gave anything they had—even their own blood—to help strangers, and did so without batting an eye.

All of these actions happened across Odessa and Midland without anyone thinking twice or hesitating. Nobody had to. It’s ingrained in the people of West Texas to be gritty and strong for a cause that is greater than ourselves.

I was born and raised here in Odessa, and I’m honored to serve its people in the Texas House of Representatives. I’ve always been proud of Odessa, but I’ve never loved my city more than I do now, after our darkest day.

On Sunday afternoon, I spent several hours (along with Governor Greg Abbott) visiting with many of the survivors at the hospital as they recover. The conversations were great: sometimes painful, but always optimistic. I want to understand the survivors’ (and family members’) experiences and share the burdens of their pain as much as I can. And getting to look into their eyes and listen to them has been very helpful and I’m grateful for their courage to share so much with me.

I want to let you know that I offered to help the survivors and their families in any way possible. They had different types of needs, but they all made the same final request: please continue to pray for me to heal. I believe in the power of prayer and have honored their requests. If you feel compelled to do the same, I hope you will join me in lifting them up in prayer.

But make no mistake, there is other work to be done.

This week, I am focused on helping to direct the abundant resources of the State of Texas to the individuals in the Permian Basin who need that assistance. I am also going to post links to information and resources in the comments section and in subsequent posts that will hopefully be helpful to you or someone you know.

There will be a policy debate about how to stop gun violence and how to save lives during these violent attacks. There’s no question that action must be taken to confront the scourge of gun violence in Texas.

There are obviously widely differing opinions in our state and our nation about how to go about doing this. Transparently, I believe in the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to own and possess firearms. I understand that everyone doesn’t share that belief. Regardless of your position on the issue, if you’re my constituent, I will listen to your ideas and suggestions, and I hope that we can have respectful and productive conversations about them.

Related to that, I’ve already been contacted by many of you with ideas about implementing an “active-shooter alert system,” similar to Amber Alerts, that could better inform the public and save lives in the process. Keep the ideas flowing!

Lastly, I know that these tragedies can often leave us feeling powerless, and I can certainly understand why. But in my view, I believe that they are reminders of how powerful and resilient we actually are. It’s a reminder that no matter how others act in the world around us, we have the power to choose what is in our own heart. We have the power to choose kindness over hatred. We have the power to help instead of hurt.

The people of Odessa, Midland and the Permian Basin are empowered with strong hearts and giving souls — that’s why in the face of evil darkness, We Will Rise.

God bless Texas!

State Representative Brooks Landgraf


$2 Billion Secured for Permian Basin Roads

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) was on hand Thursday morning when the Texas Transportation Commissioners, led by Chairman Bruce Bugg, voted unanimously to approve more than $2 billion in additional funding for transportation projects in the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Odessa district over the next decade.

"I have joined many others from West Texas in the fight to ensure that the Permian Basin receives its fair share of transportation dollars since the first day I took office," Landgraf said. "Today's actions demonstrate a collective realization that meeting the infrastructure needs of the Basin is in the best interest of Texas."

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 2020 UTP approved by the commission on Thursday includes over $2 billion in new projects for the Odessa TxDOT district, bringing the total amount of funding set aside for transportation projects in the district over the next 10 years to over $5 billion.

"Lives will be saved, and that is what's most important," Landgraf continued. "The projects approved for funding today will bring many of our most heavily traveled roadways up to the highest federal and state standards which will undoubtedly save countless lives while also improving mobility and reducing congestion."

A 2017 TxDOT study found that 11% of all traffic fatalities occurred in the Permian Basin despite the fact that it represents only 2% of the state's population. The region also produces billions of barrels of oil per day providing a financial windfall for the state because of taxes on oil and natural gas production. In the last five years oil and gas production tax revenue has generated over $5 billion for public education, over $5 billion for transportation and over $6 billion for the state's rainy day fund.

"I'm grateful to Chairman Bugg and the rest of the transportation commissioners for stepping up and making the decision to invest in our West Texas roads," Landgraf stated. "Now that the projects and funding have been approved it's time to get to work."


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.