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March 25, 1998     (512) 463-0300

SENATE FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE CONTINUES PUBLIC HEARING AT STATE CAPITOL

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Finance Subcommittee on Article III Agencies met on Wednesday, March 25, in order to continue hearing testimony regarding Texas education. The committee is responsible for monitoring and reviewing the processes and procedures of Texas higher education systems.

Members include Senator Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth as chair and Senators J.E. "Buster" Brown of Lake Jackson and Judith Zaffirini of Laredo as members.

In continuation of yesterday's hearing, members heard a presentation by the State Auditor's office regarding the results of a recent performance measures survey. The meeting then shifted to invited testimony in which representatives from several agencies presented the committee with updates and recommendations. Those agencies present included the Texas Education Agency, the State Board for Educator Certification, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the School for the Deaf, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board, and the Teacher Retirement System.

Members also heard testimony from several service agencies from the Texas A&M System. Among those agencies represented included the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Texas Forest Service, the Animal Damage Control Service, and the Texas Food and Fibers Commission. Public testimony followed.

The committee will report its findings to the Senate Finance Committee which will then make any necessary recommendations for legislative or state agency action to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of next year.

ELECTRIC UTILITY RESTRUCTURING COMMITTEE MEETS IN GRAPEVINE

GRAPEVINE - The Senate Interim Committee on Electric Utility Restructuring held a public hearing on Wednesday, March 25, at the Grapevine Convention Center. The committee was formed to study issues associated with a transition to a competitive electric utility industry. Over 350 people spent the morning listening to the two panel discussions held on electric cooperative issues and municipal utility issues including a senior class from Duncanville High School. In the afternoon session, the committee heard public testimony and comments from the mayors of Garland, Midlothian, and Greenville, the mayor pro-tempore of Brownsville, and utility managers and citizens from throughout Texas.

Committee members include Senators David Sibley of Waco (chair), Ken Armbrister of Victoria, David Cain of Dallas, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, and Jane Nelson of Flower Mound. Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan also joined the committee's proceedings.

The committee will complete its report and refer any recommendations to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of next year. The committee's next meeting is scheduled for May 28 in Victoria, Texas.

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