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May 15, 2006     (512) 463-0300

SENATE APPROVES MONEY FOR UNIVERSITY CONSTRUCTION

The Senate passed a bill Sunday night that would put more than $1.8 billion in new construction money to more than 40 state institutions. House Bill 153 permits these schools to issue bonds, secured by future tuition revenues, to fund new facilities.

The governor opened the special session's call to legislation relating to tuition revenue bonds late last week, and a committee led by Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini crafted a bill to bring to the Senate floor by Sunday. The state will have to appropriate about $200 million in the regular session to begin the construction process, said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.

Dewhurst called the bill the largest investment in colleges in the history of the state of Texas. "With tonight's passage of this college construction initiative, we've ensured that the future of higher education in Texas is bright and that we can even better prepare our future leaders," he said.

The Senate also passed a bill to enhance the state's ability to compete for a one-billion dollar experimental clean energy facility. House Bill 149, sponsored by Waco Senator Kip Averitt, would transfer ownership and liability for carbon dioxide gas extracted at the potential energy plant to the state's Railroad Commission. Texas is competing against other states for the right to host the experimental plant, and Averitt said this bill will go along way toward improving the state's chances to win the project.

The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 15, at 11 a.m.

 
Senator Kip Averitt describes a bill that would help bring an experimental clean-coal energy plant to Texas. Senator Judith Zaffirini answers questions about a $1.8 billion university construction initiative.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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