AUSTIN — State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is fighting back against fentanyl. In addition to maintaining his long standing commitment to border security, Landgraf is a co-author of legislation to beef up law enforcement’s response to the fentanyl crisis and create harsher penalties for fentanyl dealers.
“The fight against fentanyl is real, and we are all on the front lines whether we realize it or not,” Landgraf said. “This lethal drug has infiltrated every community in Texas. My heart breaks after talking with the families of West Texans who have lost their lives to fentanyl. Sadly, I’ve had several of those conversations in the last few weeks. I’m committed to fighting to secure the border and crack down on smugglers and dealers.”
Fentanyl-related deaths reported in Texas increased 89% from 2020 to 2021. Since Operation Lone Star began in March 2021, the Texas Department of Public Safety has seized more than 361 million lethal doses of fentanyl across the state, enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the United States. In 2021, Landgraf was part of the successful effort to increase state funding for border security to $3 billion for 2022-2023.
“I’m working hard this session to pass House Bill 6 and House Bill 7,” Landgraf continued. “We need to increase penalties and empower law enforcement to fend off this crisis. I’m thankful state leaders like Speaker Phelan and Governor Abbott agree that we must act now to protect Texas communities from the ever-growing fentanyl threat. Ultimately, however, the burden of this fight is going to fall on parents and families, on friends and neighbors. It is up to all of us to be aware and keep each other safe.”
If passed into law, House Bill 6 would impose severe and swift punishment for fentanyl-related crimes in Texas. Fentanyl makers, smugglers and dealers could face up to 10 years in prison, even for these small quantities. House Bill 7 would establish the Legislative Border Safety Oversight Committee to provide recommendations guiding the state's border safety policies and oversight over a newly-proposed Border Protection Unit. HB 7 would also ensure that the state's border security operations receive necessary funding and legal support to handle border-related legal matters. Landgraf is a co-author of both measures.
Landgraf and the other members of the Texas legislature convened at the Texas Capitol building for the 88th Texas Legislative Session on January 10, 2023. Members of the Texas House and Texas Senate meet for a 140-day regular session beginning the second Tuesday in January every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.