Texas House moves to crack down on polluters with stricter penalties and heavier oversight
The bill would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to focus enforcement and increase penalties on repeat violators and increase public outreach. Still, environmental advocates say the effort was too “modest” in its reach.
Energy industry showers Gov. Greg Abbott, other Texas politicians with campaign cash after they passed power grid bills
For some energy experts, the increase in donations for the officials at the close of the session looks like a reward for not passing more stringent regulations and raises questions about whether lawmakers let the oil, gas and the broader energy industry off easy for its massive failures.
Texas Senate approves permitless carry bill in prelim vote
The Republican-led effort to allow Texans to carry handguns without any kind of license cleared what is likely its biggest remaining hurdle in the Capitol on Wednesday, when the Texas Senate moved in a nail-biter vote to bring the measure to the floor and then gave it approval.
Sweeping legislation to overhaul state’s electricity market in response to winter storm heads to Texas House after Senate’s unanimous approval
The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s electricity industry and infrastructure, including mandating that power plants prepare for extreme weather and outlawing risky indexed retail electric plans. Senate Bill 3, filed by Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, now heads to the Texas House where its prospects are uncertain. Experts say the process of retrofitting the state’s power plants for winter could be difficult and costly, but not impossible, depending on the types of upgrades eventually mandated by regulators. Known as TERC, the board coordinates state energy regulators, electricity generators and the natural gas fuel industry to ensure reliable gas distribution for electricity. The PUC regulates the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s main power grid.
Texas' natural gas and power generators would have to prepare for extreme temperatures under bill Senate committee approved
A bill that would overhaul Texas’ energy industry — including mandating weatherization for natural gas and power generators — was approved by a Texas Senate committee on Thursday. Many power generators and gas companies were ill-suited for the freezing temperatures in February, which led gas pipelines to freeze and power transmission to falter. AdA Texas House committee earlier this month passed a similar weatherization bill. “I’m convinced that we’re making a big mistake by attacking a problem that isn’t a problem, just because we feel like it is a problem.”Earlier this month, the state Senate scrambled to pass Senate Bill 2142. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, called for the resignation of its three members in the aftermath of the winter storm.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick awards committee chair to Texas senator who previously faced sexual harassment allegation
Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas TribuneTwo years ago, Texas Sen. Charles Schwertner voluntarily relinquished a prominent post chairing the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee after an allegation of sexual harassment. @DanPatrick’s trust in my ability to lead this important committee.”The Senate committee Schwertner will lead is not as prominent as the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services he once oversaw. “No one works harder than the members of the Texas Senate,” Patrick said in a statement. Houston Democrat John Whitmire, the Senate longest-serving member, will continue to chair the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. Democrat Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville will serve as vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, a change Patrick announced in December.