The Texas State Senate News
AUSTIN - At the State Capitol on Wednesday, November 5, the Senate Interim Committee on Funding Issues in Education met to hear testimony regarding charges laid out by Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. Co-chairing the committee are Senators Teel Bivins of Amarillo and Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant. The committee members include Senators Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Gregory Luna of San Antonio, David Sibley of Waco, Royce West of Dallas, and Judith Zaffirini of Laredo.
The members discussed demographics, public education issues and retention rates related to enrollment in colleges and universities, and studied an overview of current financial aid programs and their policy considerations. The committee also looked into several issues relating to financial aid in order to improve enrollment and retention rates. Providing testimony were representatives from Texas A&M University, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the University of Houston, the Intercultural Development Association, and the Texas Business and Education Coalition.
Also meeting on Wednesday were members of the Senate Interim Committee on State Affairs. Senator Ken Armbrister of Victoria, Chair of the committee, led a brief organizational meeting in which the members voted on committee rules and overviewed the committee's charges as specified by Lieutenant Governor Bullock. The committee is responsible for reviewing the policies regarding the state's retirement systems for state employees and teachers. The members have also been asked to review various homeowners associations and provide an analysis of state laws that regulate construction contractors. The committee members include Senators David Cain of Dallas, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Drew Nixon of Carthage, and John Whitmire of Houston.
Senator Armbrister also led the Senate Interim Committee on Transportation in an organizational meeting in which members heard testimony from the Chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, David Laney. The committee includes Senators Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi, Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, Drew Nixon of Carthage, David Cain of Dallas, Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, and Mario Gallegos of Houston. The committee is responsible for ensuring the adequacy of Texas transportation projects and to examine transportation financing in other states. The committee will also explore ways to ease traffic on state and local roads and will evaluate state efforts promoting alternatives to traditional transportation.