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Tuesday, November 12, 1997     (512) 463-0300
Photo: Senator Royce West of Dallas leads a candid discussion with former and current gang leaders
Senator Royce West of Dallas leads a candid discussion with former and current gang leaders about gang problems and possible solutions.

The Texas State Senate News

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Sex Offenders met in an organizational meeting Wednesday to discuss charges laid out by Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. Senator Florence Shapiro of Plano (chair) led members Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso and John Whitmire of Houston in discussions of issues plaguing the state of Texas. The members heard testimony from various divisions of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Criminal Justice Policy Council, the Texas Youth Commission, and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission.

DALLAS-The Texas Senate's Interim Committee on Gang Violence and Juvenile Justice began its interim studies in Dallas Wednesday evening with a first hand look at the problems. Committee members and staff, led by Senator Royce West of Dallas, met with former and current gang leaders for a candid discussion about why there is a gang problem and the possible solutions. Later the same evening members and staff rode with the Dallas Police Department gang unit to observe gang suppression operations.

Thursday morning at the Dallas County Courthouse, Chair West convened the first of several statewide hearings to hear public testimony relating to the problems. Witnesses included law enforcement officials, area county district attorneys, juvenile probation chiefs, and various intervention and prevention program providers. Student representatives from Senator West's Student Advisory Group were especially welcome with their comments relating to prevention and solutions to the problems. As the students testified, up to 150 other students and classmates from Dallas area high schools viewed from the gallery. These students were present in observance of The Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence. The students signed pledge cards vowing to never take a gun to school and to use their influence with fellow classmates to rid school campuses of guns.

The next public hearing will be held in Houston on December 11, 1997.

AUSTIN - On Friday, November 7, Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound led a meeting of the Senate Interim Finance subcommittee that regulates certain agencies in the Health and Human Services industry. Chair Nelson and members Royce West of Dallas and Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi discussed the committee's charges and resources and reviewed the budget process.

The public hearing included testimony from representatives of the Legislative Budget Board, the Office of the State Auditor, and the Sunset Commission. The committee also invited representatives of the Board of Public Accountancy, the Board of Architectural Examiners, the Board of Barber Examiners, the Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Cosmetology Commission, the Credit Union Department, and the Board of Dental Examiners to provide testimony on various issues.

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