Senator Robert "Bob" Deuell, M.D.
The Texas State Senate
District 2

For Immediate Release
July 14, 2003

***CAPITOL UPDATE***

Update on Special Session

(AUSTIN) - Since the current special session was called on June 30, over 50 bills have been filed in the Texas Senate. These bills cover a wide variety of issues including redistricting, tort reform, insurance and the death penalty.

In this article, I have given a brief synopsis of some of the pieces of legislation that have been filed so far. If you would like more information on any of these bills, please visit the Texas Senate website (www.senate.state.tx.us), or feel free to contact my office.

Senate Bill 6 - Currently, the Texas Constitution directs the legislature to apportion Texas into state senate and state representative districts at the legislature's first regular session after the publication of the United States decennial census. As proposed, S.B. 6 establishes a nine member bipartisan citizens' redistricting commission to draw district lines for congressional districts, state senate districts, and state representative districts.

Senate Bill 8 - Current law permits an asbestos claim to be placed in the civil court system like any other civil claim. It is estimated that over half of the 200,000 asbestos claims pending in the United States have been filed in Texas courts. S.B. 8 creates a new chapter in the Civil Practices and Remedies Code for civil claims relating to asbestos litigation. This bill establishes an inactive docket for unimpaired claims, establishes objective medical criteria for determining actual impairment, and gives trial preference to asbestos claims involving malignant conditions caused by asbestos exposure.

Senate Bill 19 - As proposed, S.B. 19 seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government by eliminating the Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons (TBPP) Policy Board and folding its duties into TBPP and eliminating the State Aircraft Pooling Board and transferring its duties and responsibilities to the Texas Department of Public Safety. This bill also establishes the select committee on prison privatization and abolishes the Texas Commission on Private Security. S.B. 19 abolishes the Texas Legislative Council, creates the Legislative Information Services Board, transfers responsibility for financial audits from the state auditor to the Legislative Budget Board, and creates a Performance Review Commission to take the place of the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senate Bill 20 - As proposed, S.B. 20 creates offenses for abandoning or endangering an elderly individual or disabled individual and for failing to provide certain care for a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.

Senate Bill 21 - As proposed, S.B. 21 clarifies legislation contained in H.B 3184 and H.B. 3588, 78th Regular Session, in three areas: First, S.B. 21 amends the funding provisions contained in H.B. 3588 to reflect legislative intentions that certain Department of Public Safety fees go to general revenue (GR) for the 2004-2005 biennium to stabilize the budget and go to the Texas Mobility Fund thereafter. Second, S.B. 21 clarifies that specified portions of driver responsibility fines and additional court costs go to the Texas Mobility Fund for the 2004-2005 biennium and the GR thereafter. Third, S.B. 21 amends Chapter 361 of the Transportation Code, referencing the Texas Turnpike Authority. The conference committee report for H.B. 3184 inadvertently used the House version of the bill rather than the agreed-upon Senate version. The Senate version was passed in H.B. 3588, resulting in two different versions of the bill in law. S.B. 21 removes any conflicts mistakenly added by H.B. 3184.

Senate Bill 28 - Current law requires a person circulating a petition for a candidate's place on a ballot to read certain statements in the petition to each person who signs it and requires each part of a petition to include an affidavit of the person who circulated it stating that the person pointed out and read certain statements to the signer. As proposed, S.B. 28 requires a person circulating a petition only to be present when each signature is obtained and requires the petition to include an affidavit attesting to that fact.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0556 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us.

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