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January 24, 2001     (512) 463-0300

Gov. Perry Addresses
Joint Session of Legislature

AUSTIN - Governor Rick Perry delivered his first State of the State address to a Joint Session of the Texas Legislature on Wednesday, January 24, 2001, in a packed House Chamber.

Perry opened by speaking about the recent capture of the fugitives who escaped from the John Connally Unit in Kenedy on December 13.

"We are thankful for the work of thousands of law enforcement officials and concerned citizens in bringing this manhunt to an end," Perry said, "and we are currently working in conjunction with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office to extradite the six felons back to Texas for trial."

Following the news of the inmates' capture, Perry began his address by stressing the current "strong and vibrant" condition of the state, but offered a caution for the future.

"But no one should be mistaken as I stand before you," Perry said. "I am not here merely to discuss the state of the state, but the state of our future. And as we look into the future, we should not ignore some warning signs."

Perry touched on several key issues -- transportation, health care, infrastructure, before unveiling the centerpiece of his address.

"These are the challenges worthy of our every vigilant effort," Perry said. "And that effort starts with education."

Among other proposals, Perry called for increased investment in both public and higher education, including using almost $700 million in capital gains from the permanent school fund to improve educators' pay and benefits. Perry also called for increased funding to state grants in hopes of increasing college enrollment numbers.

To prepare for the future, Perry reminisced about the past: "My fellow Texans, the challenges before us are nothing more than opportunities. Our history is rich with examples of men and women who were undaunted by the adversity of their time."

In session, the Senate unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 16, a petition to President Bush to appoint a "border czar." SCR 16 was sponsored by Waco Senator David Sibley, the chair of the Business and Commerce Committee, and 27 co-sponsors.

Upon passage of the resolution, Lt. Governor Ratliff offered praise for Sibley and SCR 16: "Sen. Sibley, I think you're to be commended for this initiative."

The Senate stands adjourned until 11 a.m. Thursday, January 25, 2001.

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