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Thurdsay, November 20, 1997     (512) 463-0300

The Texas State Senate News

MCALLEN - The Legislative Committee on Municipal Franchise Agreements for Telecommunications Utilities met Thursday, November 20, in McAllen. The committee was created during the 75th Legislature by Senate Bill 1937 to investigate the need for consistency in franchise agreements. The committee reviewed the impact of existing municipal fee agreements, ordinances, charters, and the type and amount of costs incurred by using public property and rights of way by telecommunications utilities. The committee membership is taken from both the Senate and the House, with Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. of Brownsville and Representative Bill Carter of Fort Worth serving as co-Chairs.

"We are exploring ways to maintain fairness among franchise fee agreements between telecommunication firms and municipal governments," said Senator Lucio. "In order to make recommendations that reflect the needs of the citizens of this state, we are holding these hearings and welcome the public to participate".

The committee will attempt to balance the benefits to consumers against the disruption to roads and infrastructure due to construction by firms expanding into newly competitive markets. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 13, 1998 in San Antonio. The committee will make recommendations to the 76th Legislature which will convene in 1999.

HOUSTON - The Senate Interim Committee on Annexation met Wednesday, November 20, at Montgomery Junior College in Conroe, Texas, to hear testimony regarding the annexation of areas surrounding Houston. Those testifying presented opposition to Houston's annexation of the Kingwood area and any annexation of the Woodlands. The committee, composed of Senators Frank Madla of San Antonio (chair), Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Mario Gallegos of Houston, Michael Galloway of the Woodlands, and Jon Lindsay of Houston, reviewed possible reforms of annexation procedures that will be presented next session.

On Thursday, November 21, the committee met at the University of Houston Hilton in order to hear testimony from Houston mayor, Bob Lanier, who explained Houston's position on annexation procedures and plans. Other officials from surrounding communities also provided testimony to the members stating their position regarding the matter.

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