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February 1, 2001     (512) 463-0300

Finance Committee Continues
Rigorous Hearing Schedule

AUSTIN - Following a special nighttime hearing that ended at 11 p.m. Wednesday, it was right back to work at 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2001, for the Senate Finance Committee.

Wednesday's hearing was the first time the Senate Finance Committee has held a public hearing at night.

The committee, which is charged with developing the legislation that will set the state's budget for the next biennium, will hear testimony from every state agency and countless other groups throughout the session.

On Wednesday, the committee held the unprecedented nighttime hearing that allowed state employees to testify without having to miss work. More than 200 state workers and other interested groups filled the committee hearing room and two overflow rooms. Houston Senator Rodney Ellis, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Houston Senator Jon Lindsay at one point left the hearing room to speak with the state workers in the overflow rooms. Senators Carlos F. Truan and Eddie Lucio, Jr. personally visited with state employee groups.

While the Finance Committee may have the fullest hearing schedule, most of the Senate standing committees are meeting regularly, including the Jurisprudence, Natural Resources, Health and Human Services and the Redistricting Committee.

In another first for the Texas Senate, the Business and Commerce Committee conducted its organizational meeting completely in Spanish on Tuesday to stress the importance of being bilingual as trade between the United States and Mexico continues to grow. For the non-Spanish speakers on the committee and in the audience, the meeting was translated into English and the text made available on a television monitor.

In Thursday's session, the Senate passed a pair of resolutions sponsored by Corpus Christi Senator Carlos F. Truan. The first, Senate Resolution (SR) 136 proclaimed February 1, 2001 Jim Wells County Day at the Capitol. The second, SR 139, commended Tejano R.O.O.T.S. (Remembering Our Own Tejano Stars), a non-profit organization that founded the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame Museum. The museum honors the tradition of Tejano music and its musicians of the past and present. The museum is in the Jim Wells County city of Alice, the "Birthplace of Tejano Music."

The Senate also passed SR 161 Thursday, a commendation of Southwest High School in Houston. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Mike Jackson of Pasadena.

Twenty-seven Senate bills were referred to committee on Thursday, bringing the week's total to 129. The Texas Senate stands adjourned until 1 p.m. Monday, February 5, 2001.

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