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Special to The Dallas Examiner | 5/15/2017, 6:23 p.m. | Updated on 5/17/2017, 6:25 p.m.
Commissioner Ryan Sitton and the Railroad Commission are now using 360-degree technology to offer a virtual reality tour of Texas ...

Special to The Dallas Examiner

AUSTIN

Commissioner Ryan Sitton and the Railroad Commission are now using 360-degree technology to offer a virtual reality tour of Texas energy. It follows Sitton and San Antonio District Director Travis Baer on an Eagle Ford Shale drilling rig; including the rig floor, underneath the rig to the blowout protector and even next to a herd of cattle grazing nearby. The tool debuted at Earth Day Texas on April 21.

“This is a fantastic opportunity, where Texans can hear the sounds of a drilling operations and almost reach out and touch the drilling pipe. It’s as close as you can get without actually setting foot on a rig,” Sitton said. “One of my goals as Railroad Commissioner is to educate Texans about where their energy comes from.”

The tour gives Texans the opportunity to experience the first step in the oil production process and learn how the Railroad Commission ensures that the operation is conducted safely and responsibly.

The tour is free and available on the Railroad Commission’s YouTube channel. Viewers using computers should click and drag the mouse to see a 360-degree view.

AUSTIN

(AP) – The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would eliminate the state’s mandatory safety inspections for most vehicles. Texas is one of slightly more than a dozen states that still require safety inspections that test for things like properly working horns, brakes and brake lights, headlights and seat belts. According to a Senate study, more than 500,000 vehicles didn’t pass safety inspection in 2014 and 2015.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Don Huffines, notes that other large states like California and Florida have dropped safety inspections, and they are no longer required by the federal government. Commercial vehicles would still face safety inspections, and emissions inspections would still be required in the most populous counties.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

AUSTIN

(AP) – “Today marks an important step toward restraining a runaway federal government and returning power back to the states and their respective citizens as our Founders intended,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, applauding Texas’ approval of a call for a “convention of states” to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The Texas Legislature has approved calling a “convention of states” to amend the U.S. Constitution and impose things like a federal balanced budget requirement.

Abbott has long supported 34 legislatures, or two-thirds of them nationwide, bypassing Congress and calling a convention that can help combat Washington “overreach.” The House passed it 94-51 on May 4.

Ten other states have passed similar convention of states calls, and Texas has called for such conventions 16 previous times without any happening.

Though Republicans control the presidency and Congress, the measure’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Rick Miller said, “This is not a partisan issue” since the federal government’s “out of control.”

The Senate already endorsed the plan but was so worried about a “runaway” convention where delegates could propose unexpected amendments that it mandated jailing any who “go rogue.” The House scrapped that punishment.