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.
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.
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.
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."
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.Read more
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.Read more
AUSTIN — On Wednesday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) held a press conference at the State Capitol calling on Congress to assure Texas gets its fair share of federal transportation funding. Landgraf, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, was joined by House Transportation Committee Chairman Terry Canales and Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, in federal fiscal year 2019, Texas is the only "donor" state, receiving only 95 cents back for every dollar it sends to Washington in federal fuel taxes - a loss of up to $940 million in FY '19.
"States like Alaska, New York, and California have been building roads on our dime for some time now," Landgraf said. "Texas deserves its fair share."
House Concurrent Resolution 147, authored by Landgraf, urges Congress to work collectively toward a fair, equitable, and logical approach to federal transportation funding in any new federal transportation legislation that is considered. Last month, the Texas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the congressional committees that oversee transportation and infrastructure demanding the same.
AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf's (R-Odessa) legislation aimed at making it a felony to assault a pregnant woman in Texas was unanimously passed on Wednesday in the Texas House of Representatives.
Previously, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unanimously passed House Bill 902, which 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.
"The Texas House joined me today in making a clear statement that when a pregnant woman is assaulted, both the mother and the unborn child are victims, a more severe punishment for the attacker is justified,” Landgraf said.
Currently, the assault of a pregnant woman is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail. However, there have been several instances where the assault itself warranted an increased penalty, or where a longer sentence could have prevented additional assaults. HB 902 seeks to ensure that the punishment fits the crime by increasing the penalty for knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman.
"I want to make sure we protect both the pregnant mother and her child, as well as creating a greater deterrent for assaults of this kind," Landgraf added.
HB 902 now heads to the Texas Senate before being sent to Governor Greg Abbott for final approval. The 86th Texas legislative session is underway and will run through May 27, 2019.
AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) on Wednesday presented to a Texas House Appropriations subcommittee their proposal to bring state money generated by oil and gas production back to energy-producing hotbeds across the state. Landgraf and Craddick also announced the support of major trade associations for the proposal, known as the “GROW Texas Fund." The two filed a legislative package to direct 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.
"From the wells in the Permian Basin to the high-rises in Houston, the GROW Texas Fund will help secure a statewide tax base that serves every corner of Texas," Landgraf added. "That’s why I'm proud of the growing support from across the state."
The GROW Texas Fund legislation is supported by the following organizations and their members:
Greater Houston Partnership
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers
Texas Association of Business
Texas Oil & Gas Association
Association of Energy Service Companies
Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association
Permian Basin Petroleum Association
Permian Strategic PartnershipRead more
AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) and State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) successfully amended the budget bill proposed in the Texas House of Representatives to add funding to bolster salaries for hard-to-fill positions at Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) driver license offices in the Permian Basin.
When the new DPS “Mega Center” opened between Odessa and Midland last year, it was supposed to streamline customer service and reduce wait times. Instead, the center has been plagued by vacant positions whose salaries are not competitive with those in the oil and gas industry and customers experience hours-long wait times for services such as driver license processing. The Landgraf-Craddick budget amendment gives DPS an additional $500,000 to use as incentive pay to fill those types of vacant positions and get lines moving again, both at the Mega Center and other driver license office across West Texas.
"An increase in oil and gas production is always a good thing, but with it can come some growing pains," Landgraf said. "I constantly hear complaints about how long it takes to get a driver license at the DPS mega center and I think these additional funds will help alleviate what has been a huge inconvenience to people across West Texas."
The House passed the budget, House Bill 1, unanimously on the final vote in the early hours of Thursday morning and the measure now heads to the Senate for approval. The 86th Texas legislative session will run through May 27, 2019.