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April 3, 1998     (512) 463-0300

OUR MOTHERS BEFORE US PUBLICATION DEBUTS IN SENATE CHAMBER

AUSTIN - On Friday, April 3, the Senate Chamber was graced with the presence of Lady Bird Johnson, Texas First Lady Laura Bush, and other distinguished women who have had an impact on American history. The women helped to present a new educational publication that will be distributed to every high school in Texas entitled Our Mothers Before Us: Women and Democracy, 1789-1920. The National Archives publication will be distributed through a grant from the Brown Foundation, Inc.

Our Mothers Before Us brings original records of Congress to Texas students enabling them to build an understanding of the struggles that women have had to face throughout history. The stories told through letters written to representatives in Congress tells of women's fight for suffrage, citizenship, and other rights often taken for granted today.

Speaking at the event was one of the project directors and the granddaughter of Lady Bird Johnson, Lucinda Robb, as well as Texas Education Agency Deputy Commissioner Joe Neely, National Archives and Records Administration staff.

NATURAL RESOURCES HOLDS PUBLIC HEARING IN CORPUS CHRISTI

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Interim Committee on Natural Resources held a public hearing on Friday, April 3, in the Corpus Christi City Council Chambers. The committee is traveling around the state to hear from the public on the granting of general licensing authorities to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the siting of solid waste facilities, the operation of Superfund voluntary clean-up programs at the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, and the implementation of the Federal American Rivers Initiative.

Committee members include Senators J.E. "Buster" Brown of Lake Jackson as chair, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, Tom Haywood of Wichita Falls, Jon Lindsay of Houston, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Steve Ogden of Bryan, and Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi.

The hearing was well attended by citizens of south Texas. Numerous witnesses testified concerning the bill that creates a voluntary permitting program for unregulated air polluters. City manager, Bill Hennings, and representatives of Central Power and Light and Coastal Refining gave the program a favorable review. Skeptics included Patricia Gomez and Glenn A. Pugh of Corpus Christi, Dr. Ramon Alvarez of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Dr. Ken Kramer of the Sierra Club.

The question of whether to grant general licensing authority to the TPWD was hotly debated. The proposal was supported by Troy Williamson of Rockport and Kevin Daniels, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association, an organization of sport fishermen, and by certain commercial seafood packing firms. Opposition came from professional guides and commercial shrimpers including Richard Earl Moore and Leslie Casterline of Corpus Christi, Terry Ricks of Port Aransas and C.L. Standley of Baytown.

The committee will present its final report to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of next year. The next hearing is planned for April 24 in Brownsville.

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