TCC Members Support Development of UT’s Oil & Gas Resources

In a letter to the University of Texas Board of Regents, members of the Texas Conservative Coalition today affirmed their support for the continued use of hydraulic fracturing in the development of oil and gas resources on UT lands in west Texas. The letter comes in the wake of a report released last month by Environment Texas targeting oil production on UT land, which claimed that hydraulic fracturing “is so dangerous … that it should not occur anywhere.”

TCC members stand squarely behind the University of Texas and the continued use of hydraulic fracturing on its land. The development of oil and gas resources on university lands has contributed around $1 billion to the endowments of Texas’ two largest public university systems since 2009, and has helped finance numerous academic and other improvements on university campuses. The letter notes that TCC members stand ready to take legislative action, if necessary, to ensure the continued viability of hydraulic fracturing operations on university lands.

Oil Export Ban Must Be Lifted

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday voted to advance a bill repealing the ban on crude oil exports from the United States. TCC members strongly support this legislation, and advocated for repeal of the ban in a letter to the Texas congressional delegation last month. The letter points out that “the oil export embargo is particularly relevant to Texas. Texas contains approximately one-third of the total U.S. crude oil reserves and is the leading crude oil producer in the nation. It has played a central role in the energy revolution of the last decade, in which oil production in the United States increased by more than 80% (since 2007) to 9.5 million barrels per day.

The abundance of oil resulting from increased production has fundamentally changed the United States’ position in the world energy market, but the law has not kept up.” Read the full letter here.

PWT Oil2

TCC Members Oppose Iran Deal

In a letter to Governor Greg Abbott, members of the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) today affirmed their support for his commitment to continue state-level sanctions against Iran. The letter reads in part:

The President’s deal makes it more likely that Iran will manufacture nuclear weapons in the long-term, but in the near term, the lifting of sanctions allows an infusion of funding that will be used to purchase lethal conventional weapons, as well as finance terrorism and proxy wars. Continue reading

TCC Members Support Governor Abbott’s LIFE Initiative

Members of the Texas Conservative Coalition today sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott in support of his LIFE Initiative, which will make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion and make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts. Other provisions of the initiative will eliminate and criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic, and the initiative would also eliminate all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers at both the state and local levels. The letter reads in part:

The Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) applauds your announcement of the new statewide “LIFE Initiative,” a comprehensive set of policy proposals that, when implemented, will provide greater protection for unborn children and prevent the sale of fetal body parts … TCC strongly supports your proposals to protect unborn life and assist mothers in dire personal situations. We are available to assist your office, and we are prepared to take legislative action when the time comes.

Click here to read the full letter.
Continue reading

TCC Members Uphold Religious Liberty

TCC members authored and passed an important bill regarding a core constitutional right: Senate Bill 2065 protects the fundamental First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Under the bill (which is now effective), a religious organization or an individual employed by a religious organization, or a clergy member/minister, may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services related to marriage if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief. Current sustained assaults nationwide on religious freedom and conscience indicate that religious liberty is in danger of becoming a “second-class right . . . one that can be easily overridden by other rights, claims and interests.”[i]

The billsafeguards religious liberty by protecting clergy and employees of religious organizations from claims of homosexual discrimination in the event they choose, as required by the tenets of their faith, not to recognize same-sex “marriages.” The protection is one small effort at ensuring that religion is not further marginalized from the public square and that the moral culture that undergirds and nourishes democracy is further protected, especially in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Religious Liberty graphic

[i] Mary Ann Glendon, “First of Freedoms?”, America, March 5, 2012, available online at

Pro-Life Measures Enacted by TCC Members

The 2015 legislative session produced a number of pro-life victories that were advanced by TCC members:

HB 3994 (Morrison et al./Perry):  Requires a woman seeking an elective abortion to provide a valid government photo ID to confirm she is not a minor.

Since 2000, the state of Texas has required that minors seeking abortions do so with parental consent, or else must be granted judicial bypass from this requirement.  House Bill 3994 (Morrison et al./Perry) tightens this process by requiring that a woman seeking an abortion present to the abortion provider a valid government-issued photo ID to confirm that she is of-age to legally seek an elective abortion without parental consent or judicial bypass.  If a physician is unable to see such an ID but chooses to perform the abortion, the physician must document to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that such information was not obtained, and DSHS will report the number of abortions performed each year for which age and proof of identity are not provided.  The bill also amends and strengthens the judicial bypass procedure.

HB 416 (Riddle et al./Campbell): Requires employees and volunteers at abortion facilities to complete human trafficking training. 

Under the provisions of HB 416 (Riddle Campbell), any employee, volunteer, or contractor of a licensed abortion facility or ambulatory surgical center that performs 50 or more abortions per year must undergo a human trafficking education and training program as prescribed by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  Continue reading

TCC Members Voted to End State Investments in Iran

Companies and investors dealing with Iran aid a threatening foreign regime that is pursuing nuclear- weapons capability, brutally repressing its citizens while knowingly violating human rights, and sponsoring insidious forms of terrorism. Based on these dangerous actions antithetical to American security and prosperity, U.S. state governments, which manage trillions of dollars of taxpayer money through pension funds[1], should divest from and deny contracts to companies that do business in Iran, as is expressly allowed for by federal law.[2]

In the 83rd Texas legislative session, state lawmakers enacted SB 200 to do precisely that.  Under the bill, all “state governmental entities”, including the Employees Retirement System, the Teacher Retirement System, and all municipal, county, and local retirement systems, are required to divest from companies that are engaged in business activities in Iran. In addition, the State Pension Review Board is instructed to create a list of all “scrutinized” Texas companies that have contracts with or provide supplies (both military and non-) or services to the government of Iran, as well as ones in which the Iranian government has a direct or indirect equity share.  The list must be updated annually and distributed to the legislature and attorney general.  For each company engaged in active business operations in Iran:

  • A state governmental entity must send a notice warning the company that it may become subject to divestment by state governmental entities.
  • The company has an opportunity to clarify its Iran-related activities and whether they are subject to the state’s divestment scheme. If the company continues to have scrutinized active business operations in Iran following the warning, the state must sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly-traded securities of the company.
  • All of the divested assets must be removed from state’s investment portfolio.
  • Each year, a publicly available report is filed that identifies all securities sold, redeemed, divested.

[1] See Douglas F. Gansler, “Uniting States Against Iran,” Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2013, available at (citing National Association of State Budget Officers study).

[2] 22 U.S.C. 8532 § 202(b).

Iran Divestment