A Message from Todd Staples…
Remember, this Tuesday, MARCH 1, is Election Day!
If you have already voted, GREAT! If not, you can find your polling place here: http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/where/.
Also, it is equally as important to remind your family, co-workers, employees and friends to vote! Please email, use your Facebook or Twitter accounts to motivate your contacts. The attacks on oil and natural gas will only grow, and now is the time to ensure candidates hear from Energy Voters!
Polls are open from 7am-7pm this coming Tuesday. For a list of TXOGA PAC supported candidates, please see below.
TXOGA staff attended the TIPRO annual convention in San Antonio. Speakers included Comptroller Glenn Hegar where he announced a production tax break on low-producing oil wells based on a price trigger. Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) announced he would make workforce development in the oil and natural gas sector a priority this legislative session.
The TXOGA Allocation Well Legislation Workgroup met on Thursday, February 25, to discuss feedback TXOGA received from private and public mineral owners. The meeting was widely attended, and the group worked through the possible impacts of those proposals to the practice of drilling allocation wells. The workgroup agreed to form a small group of participants that will plan to meet with mineral owners to discuss the proposals, understand the intent, and gauge opportunity for revision. The TXOGA Allocation Well Legislation Workgroup will be briefed on the small group’s activity and maintain the ability to determine TXOGA’s course of action on this issue.
PROPERTY TAX COMMITTEE
On Tuesday, Todd Staples opened up the TXOGA Property Tax Committee Annual Conference in San Antonio. Staff also attended the two-day event where participants heard from Texas House Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen, Property Tax Assistance Division-State Comptroller as well as updates on the City of Austin challenge, 2015-2016 Case Law Review, federal and state regulatory discussions and numerous presentations on the state of the industry.
It was a heavily attended event and TXOGA looks forward to partnering with the committee to enhance and promote the event next year.
TXOGA staff met with staff of the other “heavy metal” trade associations to discuss strategy on Texas’ implementation and compliance with the new ozone regulations. It is the consensus of the group that more data is needed on emissions inventories. We further agreed we need to continue to work together on solutions and ways to utilize TERP. TXOGA is forming an ozone workgroup to brainstorm solutions and ideas for the broader multi-association group to consider.
The Railroad Commission met on Tuesday, February 23, and approved letters from the Commissioners to the Office of Management and Budget and to the Texas Congressional Delegation regarding the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s proposed rule “Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf – Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control.” Click here to view the draft of the letter.
On Thursday, TXOGA and RRC co-hosted an organizational meeting of Texas Oil and Natural Gas Working Group in conjunction with the Texas Office of Homeland Security. This initial meeting discussed the history and purpose of the Texas Critical Infrastructure Working Groups and, specifically, the Energy Sector’s Oil & Gas working group. The working groups are intended to be an organization of public and private critical infrastructure stakeholders, working jointly in continuing efforts to share information, identify and address operational concerns, and to increase the security and resiliency of Texas’ critical infrastructure in their sector.
In 2016, Texas Office of Homeland Security will establish Sector Working Groups in the following sectors: Nuclear, Energy (Oil & Gas), Transportation Systems, Business Continuity, Chemical and Communications.
Presentations from Texas Homeland Security and FBI discussed intelligence updates and overviews of private-public partnership opportunities.
COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA
On Tuesday, February 23, the TXOGA Communications Committee met via conference call. The committee reviewed TXOGA’s tax data rollout, the latest opposition research findings, and the 2016 legislative priorities. The committee also discussed the joint TXOGA/API communications effort including upcoming focus groups, as well as the 2016 Strategic Communications Project. The next TXOGA Communications Committee Meeting will be in-person on April 6 in Austin from 10:30am–1:30pm.
In case you missed it, TXOGA shared a US Chamber of Commerce piece about a recent study that found that fracking does not contaminate drinking water: Awkward! Hydraulic Fracturing Opponent Funds Study Finding It Doesn’t Contaminate Water.
TEXAS OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION GOOD GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE (TXOGA PAC)
March Primary. Super Tuesday. SEC Primary. Call it what you will, Election Day is Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia will all hold primaries. Todd Staples and the TXOGA PAC will host an election watch party on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, starting at 6:30pm at TXOGA. Please RSVP to Lisa Lucero at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you plan to attend.
As of Wednesday, February 24, a total of 667,919 votes were cast early in the state’s 15 biggest counties by population. That number represents about 7.3 percent of the 9.2 million registered voters in those counties. That total is close to double the 349,594 votes cast during the first nine days of early voting in 2012, but is still short of the 2008 turnout when 804,539 votes by this point.
Hot Races to watch according to Texas Tribune:
On the ballot: 2016 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/candidate-filing/cf-report.aspx
As a reminder, the Texas Oil and Gas Association Good Government Committee endorses the following Slate of Candidates for the 2016 Primary Election*
Supreme Court of Texas
Justice Eva Guzman
Justice Paul Green
Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)
Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio)
Senator Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio)
Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville)
Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls)
Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio)
Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van)
Jay Dean (R-Longview)
Representative Byron Cook (R-Corsicana)
Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches)
Representative Kyle Kacal (R-Bryan)
Representative John Raney (R-College Station)
Representative John Cyrier (R-Bastrop)
Representative Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown)
Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi)
Representative Sergio Munoz (D-Palmview)
Representative Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville)
Representative Paul Workman (R-Austin)
Representative Dewayne Burns (R-Cleburne)
Representative J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville)
Kevin Downing (R-Granbury)
Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton)
Representative Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)
Representative Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels)
Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
Representative John Frullo (R-Lubbock)
Representative Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker)
Representative Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)
Representative Angie Chen Button (R-Garland)
Representative Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale)
Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas)
Bennett Ratliff (R-Coppell)
Representative Dan Huberty (R-Houston)
Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown)
Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston)
Representative Gene Wu (R-Houston)
Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Spring)
*All candidates have received the PAC endorsement based on their individual evaluations and the balloting process. Some candidates also received monetary contributions based on the aforementioned process and availability of funds.
For all your voting questions, go to www.votetexas.gov. This site is coordinated by the Secretary of State.
In an effort to have a truly unified industry voice in Texas, TXOGA is working to recruit new members. If you know of industry counterparts that are not involved in the work of the Association or are former TXOGA members, please contact Neal Carlton at email@example.com. If your company would like to make changes to your representatives who serve on TXOGA committees, please email Neal. We can also send you a current breakdown of those from your company serving on committees, if desired.
Membership dues invoices were sent out in December. If not already processed, please pay your dues immediately and contact Neal with any questions.
TEXAS OIL & GAS ASSOCIATION WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SAFETY GROUP
If your company is not already maximizing savings by being a part of the industry’s largest workers’ compensation insurance program in Texas, please contact Jim Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org today to obtain easy information on the best way to access this program.
Click HERE to view the latest safety group newsletter.
- TXOGA will host an election watch party on Tuesday, March 1, from 6:30–10pm in TXOGA’s Conference Room. RSVP is requested, email@example.com.
- The Energy Council’s 2016 Federal Energy and Environmental Matters Conference will take place in Washington, D.C., on March 3–6, 2016. TXOGA will be coordinating a dinner on March 3. This will be a smaller event than previous Energy Council’s so please contact Lisa Lucero at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend so we can plan accordingly.
- On Monday, March 7, 2016, at 1pm the House Energy Resources Committee will meet in E2.010. The committee will meet to hear testimony on the following charges:
- Study enforcement policies of the Railroad Commission of Texas. Consider effectiveness of maximum fines as a deterrent of violation, the economic benefit of non-compliance, and greater accessibility to enforcement and complaint data for the public.
- Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting oversight, the committee should:
- consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
- identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
- determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner;
- identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs;
- monitor the impact of major energy legislation passed by the 84th Legislature including the implementation of regulated surface activity on oil and gas sites; and
- review seismic research needs for the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology and any response to research findings by the Railroad Commission of Texas.
- On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at 9am the House Energy Resources Committee will meet in E1.030. The Committee will meet jointly with International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs to hear invited testimony only on the following charge:
- Review how the Mexican energy transformation has bolstered or diminished the energy economy in Texas. Explore opportunities that would encourage binational exchange and commerce of oil, gas, and oilfield materials. Discuss how a competitive market across the border will affect supply, market price, reliability of Texas oil, gas, and energy markets, pipeline build-out as well as other economic factors such as workforce and local economy sustainability.
- TXOGA PAC will host a fundraising luncheon for Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Chair of the House Calendars Committee, on March 9. Please contact Lisa Lucero at email@example.com if you are interested in participating in this important event. Attendees must be donors to TXOGA PAC and/or bring a donation directly to Rep. Hunter.
- The Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief will meet on Monday, March 21, 2016, at 11am. The hearing will be held at the following location: Texas Tech University – International Cultural Center, Auditorium located at 601 Indiana Ave, Lubbock, TX 79409. The Committee will hear invited, resource and public testimony on the following interim charges:
- Study the property tax process, including the appraisal system, and recommend ways to promote transparency, simplicity, and accountability by all taxing entities.
- Examine and develop options to further reduce the tax burden on property owners.
- TXOGA Board of Directors will meet in Austin on March 29 and 30. If your company has a board seat, please encourage your board member to attend and RSVP at their earliest convenience. If you do not have a board seat, the March 29 dinner would be good to attend as TXOGA will honor both outgoing state Senator Troy Fraser and House Energy Resources Chair, state Representative Drew Darby, for their service to Texas.
- On March 29, 2016, the Senate Committee on State Affairs will meet to take up and consider the following interim charge: Gather and review data on the compensation provided to private property owners for property purchased or taken by entities with eminent domain authority. Examine the variance, if any, between the offers and the fair market values of properties taken through eminent domain. Make recommendations to ensure property owners are fairly compensated at 9am in the Senate Chamber.
- On March 29, 2016, the Senate Committee on Transportation will meet to take up and consider the following interim charges:
- Review State Highway Fund grants and loans to Regional Mobility Authorities (RMA) and make recommendations if additional oversight procedures are needed to ensure the RMA’s expenditures are a valid and accountable use of State Highway Funds.
- Review current state and federal regulations, penalties and fines related to oversize and overweight vehicles and make recommendations to minimize impacts on the state’s roadways and bridges at 9am in E1.016.
- The Senate Finance Committee will meet on March 30, 2016 at 9:30am in E1.036 to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges:
- Study the benefits, including the dynamic effects, of continuing to phase out the franchise tax. Consider alternate approaches to funding the Property Tax Relief Fund.
- Review the state’s current sales tax holiday structure and determine its economic benefit to the state. Evaluate and consider the merits of any potential expansion of the tax holiday either in the application of the sales tax exemption or the timing of the holiday.
- The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce will meet on March 30, 2016at 1pm, in E1.016 to discuss the following business: Receive updates from the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.