Reverend Gerald Mann was honored by the Senate today on the occasion of his retirement. In addition to serving as pastor for Riverside Baptist Church in Austin for 26 years, Rev. Mann served as Senate Chaplain from 1967-1996. Pictured (l-to-r) are Rev. Mann's assistant Chris Wiehl, Reverend Gerald Mann, his wife, Sandra, and Senator Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin.
FRASER CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL TOP-TIER PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN CENTRAL TEXAS
Citing a lack of public universities in the Central Texas area, Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay today called for the creation of an additional upper-level, stand-alone university in Bell County. According to the Central Texas University Task Force, there are nearly a million residents in Bell County and surrounding counties who are not within commuting distance of a public university with uncapped enrollment. They add, that the fact that there are more than 20,000 students enrolled in community colleges in this area indicates demand for another upper-level, stand-alone university. "Now is the time for the state of Texas to step in and make a public university," said Fraser. "A well-educated workforce is what will create the economic drive for central Texas."
Fraser has filed two bills to accomplish this goal. First is SB 156, which would permit the issuance of tuition revenue bonds to finance the construction of university facilities. The second is SB 157, which would create an upper-level, stand-alone university, tentatively called Texas A&M University-Central Texas. It would be located on 662 acres donated by Fort Hood, meaning the state would not have to purchase land on which to situate the new university. The proximity of the university to Fort Hood would allow soldiers and the children of soldiers access to a public university virtually in their own backyard.
The Senate passed a measure today that would make it illegal to video record a movie using a camcorder within the theater. While it is not commonly known, it is not currently illegal under state law to videotape a first-run movie in a theater in Texas, enabling the production and distribution of bootleg copies which costs the film industry an estimated $3.5 billion a year. SB 481, by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth, would make the unauthorized operation of a recording device within a movie theater a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense. The crime becomes a state jail felony for a second offense, and then a third-degree felony for a third offense. The bill would also permit a movie theater manager to detain someone they suspect to be videotaping a movie and hold that person for a reasonable time until law enforcement officials arrive.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, April 13, at 11 a.m.
Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.