SENATE COMMITTEE MEETS IN MISSION TO DISCUSS NAFTA ISSUES
MISSION - On Wednesday, January 14, the Senate Interim Committee on North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) met in Mission, Texas to discuss the impact that certain NAFTA programs will have on the state. Members of the committee include Senators Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi (chair), Steve Ogden of Bryan, Mario Gallegos of Houston, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso, and John Carona of Dallas. Witnesses provided testimony to the members describing the effects NAFTA programs have on Texas and its citizens. Some witnesses implied that while many regard NAFTA only in terms of jobs gained or lost, the effects will soon be much more widespread. This could range from teaching methods in Texas public schools to truck inspection regulations at border crossings. Private industry representatives testified that companies are having a difficult time finding qualified employees for newly created technical and managerial positions. Rio Grande officials agreed with this statement and voiced concerns regarding job training programs in order to fill these jobs. These critical issues affect not only the Rio Grande Valley but the entire state as NAFTA continues to reshape the state and national economy. The committee will continue to hold hearings around the state throughout the Interim to gather more information regarding NAFTA issues. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the 76th Legislature when it convenes in January of next year.