State Rep. Brooks Landgraf succeeded on a number of the legislative priorities in the Texas House of Representatives during the final week of this year's legislative session.
Campus Construction Funding
As a result of legislation filed by Landgraf, the University of Texas-Permian Basin (UTPB) and the Texas Tech Health Science Center-Permian Basin (TTUHSC) received authorization for funding to construct new buildings. UTPB will receive $48 million for the construction of an engineering and a kinesiology building, and TTUHSC will receive more than $14 million for a new academic building in Odessa.
"It was a pleasure to work with administrators from both UTPB and TTUHSC to secure needed funds for important construction projects on their campuses," Landgraf said. "Fighting in the Capitol for the institutions in our community was one of my first legislative priorities, and I am pleased to fulfill my pledge and produce results for higher education in West Texas."
Landgraf supported a state budget that stays well below the spending limit imposed in the Texas Constitution. The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget prioritizes transportation needs across Texas, and ensures that West Texas Highways are not neglected. The budget was approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott this week.
"This budget allocates important infrastructure funding that will significantly benefit our West Texas region, while also adequately funding for our state's public school system," Landgraf said. "The budget provides a significant increase in funding for border security and public safety."
Landgraf voted for a bill that passed on Friday that would permit concealed handgun license-holders to openly carry handguns.
"I heard from countless constituents about their desire for the open carry bill to pass," Landgraf said. "I am proud to preserve the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans."
Gov. Abbott has indicated he will sign the open carry bill into law, and it will take effect January 1, 2016.
Texans will soon see lower taxes thanks to legislation Landgraf supported. Landgraf voted in favor of a tax relief package that will cut the business franchise tax and increase the homestead exemption for Texas homeowners.
AUSTIN- Friday, the Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to House Bill 100, which includes provisions introduced by State Rep. Brooks Landgraf that will assist Texas Tech University Health Science Center-Permian Basin (TTUHSC), and the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) in financing the construction of new buildings on both campuses.
"I'm thrilled to support UTPB and the Texas Tech medical school in working to pass a bill to secure funding for much needed construction process," Landgraf said. "As a result of this legislation, UTPB and TTUHSC will be able to construct important new facilities that will help continue their mission of providing top-tier education opportunities to our West Texas students."
House Bill 100 authorizes $48 million in campus construction funds to UTPB to construct both an engineering building and a kinesiology building, and also authorizes more than $14 million to TTUHSC to construct a medical education building in downtown Odessa. The amounts authorized for the projects originated in two bills filed earlier this year by Landgraf.
AUSTIN- Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 9, which reforms the current method for limiting the growth of state government spending.
"This is another great step to bring budget transparency to the legislative process," State Rep. Brooks Landgraf said. "I was proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this important legislation that will preserve our Texas conservative principles."
The bill limits state government spending to population growth plus inflation.
AUSTIN- Tuesday, the Texas Senate officially passed the Down syndrome information act, House Bill 3374. The legislation will now head to Governor Abbott's desk for final approval.
"I am thrilled that this important piece of legislation has successfully passed both the House and Senate this session," Landgraf said. "I have no doubt that parents will be better informed by health care providers following Down syndrome diagnoses, and many precious lives will be saved in the process."
Under the provisions of the bill, medical providers will be required to provide information to expectant parents following a likely diagnosis of Down syndrome. If approved by Governor Abbott, the provisions of the bill will take effect on September 1, 2015.
AUSTIN- Friday, the Texas House gave final approval to Senate Bill 1139, which authorizes the creation of the 446th District Court of Texas located in Ector County. State Representative Brooks Landgraf offered the initial legislation creating the court when he filed House Bill 1089 earlier this year.
Landgraf initiated the effort to create a new judicial district in Ector County after discussing with local leaders problems that result from having back-logged cases.
A new district court has not been created in Ector County since 1985, despite significant population growth during the period since then.
"With the creation of the 446th District Court we are ensuring that our citizens' right to a fair and efficient trial is protected," Landgraf said. "This new court will be a welcome addition to our West Texas justice system and will come at no additional cost to taxpayers."
AUSTIN- On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 3374, the Down syndrome information act, joint-authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf.
"It has been a privilege to work on this critical issue that is very near and dear to my heart," Landgraf said. "Today we are one step closer to ensuring that all parents have access to the information available to them when they receive a diagnosis that indicates their child has Down syndrome."
The bill requires that a medical provider furnish information about treatment options and resources for Down syndrome to expectant parents or new parents following a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
During the final moments of debate on the bill, Landgraf offered a critical amendment prohibiting the state-produced information from implicitly or explicitly presenting pregnancy termination as an option when a prenatal test indicates that the unborn child has Down syndrome.
AUSTIN- Wednesday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf and the Texas House passed landmark tax relief for the people of Texas, including the first ever decrease in the state sales tax.
The House tax cut plan that was passed is the largest tax cut plan offered in the Legislature, and provides over $4.9 billion in tax relief for Texans.
After the plan's passage, Landgraf issued the following statement: "By cutting the sales tax for the first time in Texas history, from 6.25% to 5.95%, Texans will see a permanent tax cut every single time they shop in the grocery store, the mall, the hardware store, and even the sporting goods store. Every Texan will see tax relief from this sales tax cut."
The historic tax cut package also includes a 25% cut to the taxes that businesses pay, known as the franchise tax. This plan provides the fairest approach and conservatively focuses on a low, broad rate so that the tax does not unfairly pick winners and losers.
AUSTIN- State Rep. Brooks Landgraf will host a town hall meeting in Odessa on Saturday, April 18th. The town hall, which is open to the public, will be held at the Jack Rodgers Fine Arts Center at Odessa College from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
"One of my top priorities as state representative is to keep an open and consistent dialogue with the people of House District 81," Landgraf said. "This town hall is an excellent opportunity for everyone to come out and discuss the important issues we are facing at the Capitol during the current legislative session."
During the town hall Rep. Landgraf plans to cover a variety of issues including discussion on some of the 16 bills he filed since assuming office in January.