Landgraf’s Bill to Strengthen Monica’s Law Passes Out of Texas House

AUSTIN — Legislation by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to bolster the state’s online protective order registry passed out of the Texas House by a vote of 145 - 1 on Tuesday.

“Last session, we passed Monica’s Law to create the Texas Protective Order Registry to include protective orders issued as a result of domestic violence,” Landgraf said. “The registry has been a huge success, so we want to improve the tool further with HB 2702 by including protective orders for victims of sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, and human trafficking in the database as well.”

“Monica’s Law” was named in honor of Monica Deming, an Odessa mother who was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend in 2015 with multiple protective orders issued against him. He was able to hide his violent past by exploiting the information gap in the system. Prior to the Texas Protective Order Registry going into place, protective orders issued in one county were unknown and inaccessible by law enforcement and courts in another county.

“Monica’s Law closed the information gap that existed between the courts, law enforcement and the public as it relates to protective orders arising from incidents of domestic violence so that repeat offenders of domestic abuse can no longer hide their crimes by moving from county to county,” Landgraf continued. “Now HB 2702 ensures the same thing applies to other horrible acts like assault and human trafficking. This is all about catching the bad guys and protecting and empowering the public.”

HB 2702 bolsters the protection the registry provides by amending the language to include protective orders issued under Chapter 7A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. HB 2702 also provides the process for vacated protective orders to be removed from the database. No statute currently provides for the removal of the record when the protective order is vacated by a court.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf’s Effort to Slash STAAR Test Passes in Texas House

AUSTIN — Legislation joint authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to reduce STAAR testing passed out of the Texas House by a vote of 136 - 6 on Friday.

“House Bill 764 ensures Texas students are tested only as required by federal law, instead of the State of Texas imposing additional standardized tests on our students, parents and teachers,” Landgraf said. “The bill eliminates any statewide test that is not federally required and eliminates end-of-course exams for high school students.”

HB 764 eliminates the overly burdensome social studies test for 8th graders as well as the writing tests for 4th and 7th graders. End-of-course exams for high schoolers are also eliminated and replaced with a process to allow for high school students to be able to take the SAT or ACT or another norm-referenced secondary-level test in order to satisfy the federal assessment requirements. Finally, the bill stipulates that if federal testing requirements are reduced, Texas will immediately follow suit to reduce state testing accordingly.

“I hear more concerns about the STAAR test than just about anything else. These complaints come from students, parents, teachers, administrators and taxpayers. HB 764 is a direct response to those complaints,” he added. “We still have a lot of work to do to fix this problem, but the passage HB 764 clearly demonstrates that the members of the Texas House are listening to the voices of their constituents,” Landgraf concluded.

HB 764 now heads to the Texas Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate before the end of May, the bill will be sent to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf Votes for Pro-Life Heartbeat Act as it Passes Out of Texas House

AUSTIN — Legislation cosponsored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to prohibit abortion procedures after detection of a fetal heartbeat passed out of the Texas House by a vote of 83 - 64 on Thursday.

“Senate Bill 8 is one of the most important pro-life bills I’ve been proud to support,” Landgraf said. “The heartbeat bill provides a shield of protection for the most defenseless among us: unborn children. This is a historic day in Texas, a day long overdue. Every human life is precious. And my faith tells me that life begins at conception. That is why I strongly supported this legislation.”

Senate Bill 8, the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” seeks to prohibit abortions from being performed after detection of a fetal heartbeat. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Current state law permits abortions until 20 weeks of pregnancy. SB 8 also authorizes a private civil right of action against any person who performs an illegal abortion in Texas.

“This is a landmark day in the Texas House, and I am proud of what we have done to protect the unborn. This is what I was sent here to do, to represent the values I was raised with, the values of our community,” Landgraf concluded.

The Texas Heartbeat Act passed out of the Senate by a vote of 19 to 12 before it was sent to the Texas House. Changes were made to the bill in the House, so SB 8 is on its way back to the Senate. If the House and Senate can agree to a final draft of the bill before the end of the month, SB 8 will head to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf’s Active Shooter Alert Bill Passes Out of Senate Committee

AUSTIN — Legislation by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to create the Texas Active Shooter Alert System took another important step in the process to becoming law as it was passed unanimously out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. May 4th happens to also be the birthday of the bill’s namesake, Leilah Hernandez.

“To get HB 103 over this important hurdle on this special day is a big deal,” Landgraf said. “The Leilah Hernandez Act is one step closer to going into effect to keep Texans safe.”

Landgraf crafted House Bill 103 after working with families of victims from the August 31, 2019 mass shooting, when a mobile gunman killed 7 people and injured 25 others across Odessa and Midland. Leilah Hernandez, a 15-year-old Odessa High School student, was the youngest victim killed that tragic day.

“I hope this is welcome news to Leilah’s family, who are still grieving along with the friends and family of the other victims on that horrible day. I will continue to work hard to ensure we get this bill across the finish line in honor of all of those we have lost,” Landgraf concluded.

HB 103 will now go to the Senate floor to be debated by the full Senate. The bill will head to the governor’s desk to be signed into law if it successfully passes out of the Senate before the end of the month. Senator Judith Zafferini, a long-standing and well respected member of the Texas Senate known for her eloquent speeches, is sponsoring HB 103 in the Senate.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf Prepares for State Budget Debate

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is preparing for the state budget debate on the House floor. Senate Bill 1, the state’s budget for 2022 and 2023, is set for debate on the House floor on Thursday.

“I’m fighting for resources for the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “So much of the state’s business is funded by what we do out here in West Texas, and it only makes sense for us to get our fair share of state resources so we can keep the state rocking and rolling. At the same time, I’m laser focused on keeping state spending as low as possible and only on items that are a priority for Texans.”

The Texas Constitution requires the legislature to meet every two years for one primary reason: to pass a state budget for the next two years. This session’s budget bill has already passed out of the Texas Senate. Provided the budget bill is passed by the House, it will then go to a joint committee of members from the House and Senate who will iron out differences between our two versions of the budget before it is sent along to the governor. The Texas governor cannot veto an entire budget bill approved by the Legislature, but the governor does have authority to veto specific line items in the budget.

“I have filed amendments to the budget to restore funding for UTPB to pre-pandemic levels and set aside additional funding to help police commercial vehicle traffic around the Permian Basin to make roads safer. We are the most productive energy producing region on earth and an integral part of the Texas economy. These facts should be reflected in the state budget,” Landgraf concluded.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year.


Landgraf’s Active Shooter Alert Bill Passes Out of Texas House

AUSTIN — Legislation by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to create the Texas Active Shooter Alert System is on its way to the Texas Senate after passing out of the Texas House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority of 146-0 on Wednesday. Landgraf has described this bill as a way to save lives and prevent mass violence while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans.

“In the aftermath of the August 31, 2019 mass shooting, I received countless calls and messages from constituents with ideas on how to save lives and prevent mass violence by establishing an active shooter alert system in Texas. That’s exactly what HB 103 sets out to do,” Landgraf said.

House Bill 103 would require the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop and implement the Active Shooter Alert System. The alerts are intended to be issued quickly via SMS text and other available communications in the event of a mass active shooting situation to individuals near the location of the shooting.

Landgraf crafted HB 103, the Leilah Hernandez Act, after working with families of victims from the mass shooting. Leilah Hernandez, a 15-year-old Odessa High School student, was the youngest victim killed that tragic day in Odessa and Midland. Her mother and uncle provided committee testimony about their experience and how they believe an alert system would have saved Leilah’s life.

“Today is about remembering those we have lost and fighting to prevent other Texas families from enduring the pain that Leilah’s family has to go through,” Landgraf said after the bill was passed. “I want to honor her family’s courage and her memory, along with the memory of everyone we lost, by passing this needed legislation into law.”

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf’s Active Shooter Alert Bill Unanimously Passes Out of Committee

AUSTIN — Legislation by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to create the Texas Active Shooter Alert System is poised to be one of the first bills considered by the Texas House of Representatives this legislative session. Representative Landgraf presented House Bill 103 during a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety on Thursday. The committee unanimously approved the bill, passing it on for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

Landgraf crafted HB 103 after working with families of victims from the August 31, 2019  mass shooting, when a mobile gunman killed 7 people and injured 25 others across Odessa and Midland. Leilah Hernandez, a 15-year-old Odessa High School student, was the youngest victim killed that tragic day. Leilah’s mother and uncle provided testimony to the committee about their experience and how they believe an alert system would have saved Leilah’s life.

“Leilah’s entire family made the 6-hour drive to Austin to testify on behalf of the bill, to tell their story and honor Leilah’s life,” Landgraf explained. “Their testimony was powerful, and motivated the committee to move the bill immediately. I am grateful for the family's strength and courage, and I am thankful to Chairman James White for moving HB 103 out of committee so quickly.”

House Bill 103 would require the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop and implement the Active Shooter Alert System. DPS would activate the alert system on the request of a local law enforcement agency who determines there is an active shooter situation.

“My hope is that the Texas Active Shooter Alert System will prevent other Texas families from enduring the grief and heartbreak that Leilah’s family has to live with for the rest of their life,” Landgraf continued. “The goal of HB 103 is to save lives and assist first responders during active, mass shooting situations. This is an opportunity to keep Texans safe without infringing on anyone’s liberties.”

If passed by the Texas State House and State Senate, the Texas Active Shooter Alert System would become law on September 1, 2021.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.

Rep. Landgraf and Mrs. Joanna Levya.

Rep. Landgraf, Leilah Hernandez's family and Father Tim Hayter.


Landgraf’s Bill Protects Basin from High-Level Radioactive Waste

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 2692 to prohibit the storage and disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Texas.

“Texas will not be a dumping ground for the rest of the country,” Landgraf said. “Passing HB 2692 will ensure that high-level radioactive waste is kept out of the oil patch and out of West Texas.”

Since 1998, federal law has required Texas to operate a facility for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste generated in the state. The low-level radioactive waste disposal facility is located in Andrews County, situated on a natural 600-foot formation of impermeable red bed clay. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently considering an application to allow for the storage of high-level radioactive waste at the facility.

“My constituents are on board with low-level storage, as used rubber gloves and hospital gowns provide little reason for concern. But high-level radioactive waste, like spent nuclear fuel, is a horse of an entirely different color. I filed HB 2692 for those who live and work in Andrews and the Permian Basin, and for all Texans, so that highly radioactive is not brought to or disposed of in our West Texas communities,” Landgraf concluded.

In addition to banning the storage of high-level radioactive waste at the disposal facility near Andrews, House Bill 2692 makes necessary changes to the law to ensure the facility provides an economic benefit to Andrews County and the State of Texas into the future as it continues to store low-level materials in a safe and efficient manner. The facility is the disposal site for many of the economic engines of the Texas economy, including our hospital safety net, our world-renowned oil and gas industry, and our electric generators.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf Files Bill to Enhance Penalties for Rioting, Preserve First Amendment Freedoms

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 2461 to crack down on criminal rioters while protecting the constitutional rights of lawful protestors.

“Our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble must be preserved and protected,” Landgraf said. “HB 2461 will protect the ability of Texans to exercise their constitutional rights by properly punishing those who seek to take advantage of peaceful protests through violence, looting and intimidation.”

Widespread reports of individuals traveling from state to state to incite violence and looting during peaceful protests have motivated Landgraf and other state leaders, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, to find solutions to deter such behavior and preserve the peace.

“Anyone who participates in violent riots should be held accountable for their actions. This legislation will help ensure that alleged rioters from out of state face the same standards of justice as those who call Texas home. I applaud Representative Landgraf for taking action to keep Texas a law-and-order state and I look forward to working with the Legislature to get this bill to my desk,” Governor Abbott said.

House Bill 2461 would amend Texas law to deny bail for anyone arrested for a criminal offense committed during a riot until the person makes the first official court appearance before the judge that will hear the case. House Bill 2461 also increases penalties for crimes committed during a riot, such as assault, arson or robbery.

“I’m thankful for Governor Abbott’s support of this important endeavor to preserve and protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans. Those who seek to upend our constitutional republic by spreading chaos and anarchy will be met with firm resistance in the Lone Star State,” Landgraf concluded.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.


Landgraf Fights Electricity Rate Hikes

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) demanding it to rescind authorization for rate hikes on Texas electric bills amid recent power outages.

“You already left the taxpayers out in the cold with your lack of leadership and oversight of ERCOT,” Landgraf writes in the letter. “And yet, while they were still shivering in their homes, you decide to take more money out of their wallets -- food from their mouths -- in order to pay for mistakes made by your agency. I think not.”

The PUC held an emergency meeting earlier this week where officials introduced an order that directed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to correct any past prices to reflect the current shortage of energy. The order stated that “Energy prices should reflect scarcity of the supply. If customer load is being shed, scarcity is at its maximum, and the market price for the energy needed to serve that load should also be at its highest.” Lawmakers like Landgraf are concerned that this leaves Texans vulnerable to unexpected rate hikes in their energy bills.

“We cannot allow someone to exploit a market when they were the ones responsible for the dire consequences in the first place,” Landgraf’s letter continues. “On behalf of my fellow West Texans, and as a matter of principle, I demand that the Public Utility Commission of Texas rescind its authorization to ERCOT to permit rate hikes on Texas electric bills.”