The Senate Infrastructure Development and Security Committee is charged with conducting a thorough and detailed study of the following issues, including state and federal requirements, and preparing recommendations to address problems or issues that are identified.
- Study the implementation and make recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of HB 3588 relating to the construction, acquisition, financing, maintenance, management, operation, ownership, and control of transportation facilities including, but not limited to, multimodal transportation and the progress, improvement, policing, and safety of transportation in Texas. Monitor and report on the adequacy and use of the trauma care funds generated as a result of the legislation and make recommendations for improving the funding of trauma care services.
- Study the proof of financial responsibility verification program administered by Texas Department of Insurance and the Department of Public Safety and make recommendations for improving compliance by drivers in Texas.
- Study and make recommendations for innovative approaches to highway construction and maintenance. Focus on recommendations for streamlining Texas Department of Transportation operations, including methods of expediting permitting procedures while maintaining environmental safeguards. Examine and make recommendations for regional options for increasing financing, including, but not limited to, the creation of a local option motor fuels tax.
- Evaluate and make recommendations relating to funding allocations for TransTexas Corridor projects. Monitor and report on the status of the projects, including their impact on local, regional, and state transportation.
- Study the federal re-authorization of TEA-21. Analyze and make recommendations relating to the impact of re-authorization on transportation in Texas, including an assessment of state plans and programs for implementing any required changes.
- Study and report on the distribution of federal funds to Texas through the Governor's Office, state agencies, and directly to local units of government for homeland security measures, including but not limited to, public health and welfare, safety, awareness, and the subsequent use of any funds that might be awarded. Make recommendations relating to the development of a method for tracking this information across jurisdictions and state programs. Evaluate the allocation and efficient use of future federal funds to the state and local governments and identify opportunities to enhance current state funding for homeland security and other measures.
- Evaluate state and local efforts to enhance the security of Texans and make recommendations for improving Texas' ability to detect, deter, and respond to acts of terrorism, including state plans and programs for addressing bioterrorism. Regarding bioterrorism events, the Committee shall focus on early detection of an incident, reporting of information from local health entities, and ability to organize and administer a mass vaccination. Make recommendations relating to improvements to state and local communications networks and develop innovative methods for sharing federal, state, and local information.
- Study the issue of interoperable communications for first responders. The Committee shall assess the status of this capability and evaluate available technology and costs. In addition, the Committee shall explore pilot programs and proposals by entities such as DPS and the Sheriff's Association, who have been working to assess new technologies and the cost of implementation of systems to assist in effective communication between all parts of the state.
- Study the issues associated with consular identification cards ("Matricula Consular"), with particular attention to security and verifiability, banking access, local law enforcement relations, and driver's license issuance. Review current FBI reports on security and verifiability. Consider the implications that acceptance of the card on a state or local level would have on federal immigration policy and homeland security.
Joint Interim Charge with the Senate Business & Commerce Committee
Study the possibility of whether a system failure in Texas could occur in a manner similar to the blackout that occurred in the northeastern United States. Include a review of the Texas electric system and make recommendations on ways to enhance the security and stability of the system. Review industry plans and procedures and determine their effectiveness in responding to system disruption. Study the transmission and distribution system in Texas and make recommendations on the policies to plan for and promote investment in future transmission needs.
Coordinate Texas activities with those of the federal government, neighboring states and Mexico to ensure consistent system planning and responses. This study shall include non-ERCOT areas of Texas.
The Committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library.
The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.
Senate Committee on Infrastructure Development and Security Report to the 79th Legislature
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Budget and Staff
Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. All other costs shall be borne by the Senate Infrastructure Development & Security Committee's interim budget, as approved by the Senate Administration Committee. Due to overall budget constraints, it is recommended each interim committee budget include only critical expenditures and, where possible, reductions from previous spending levels.
The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.
Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.