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April 22, 1998     (512) 463-0300
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CHILDREN GIVE STAMP OF APPROVAL ON SENATEKIDS

AUSTIN - Children of all ages and grade levels were the first to see Texas SenateKids, the Senate's educational website devoted to children. The page was officially launched to the Internet on Tuesday, April 21, and those children touring the Capitol were able to participate in hands-on demonstrations of the new website.

Among the favorite activities of the children on SenateKids were the online coloring book, the Senate "Madlib" game, and the QuickTime Virtual Tour of the Capitol and grounds. The children, as well as their teachers and parents, provided valuable feedback for SenateKids through surveys.

SenateKids is an interactive web site where kids of all ages can learn about the history, government processes, and legislative figures of Texas through games, photographs, animated characters, and informative reference sections.

Each of the 31 Texas senators will be sending out user materials to schools, libraries, and educational service centers in their districts.

SENATORS MEET IN HARLINGEN - REVIEW HOME HEALTH CONDITIONS

HARLINGEN - The Senate Interim Committee on Home Health and Assisted Living Facilities met on Wednesday, April 22, for a public hearing. The committee was welcomed to Harlingen by Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville. Senator Mike Moncrief (chair) presided over the committee which includes Senators Drew Nixon of Carthage, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Mario Gallegos of Houston, and Jane Nelson of Flower Mound.

Testimony came from two panels. Leading a current issues discussion were representatives of various state agencies including Eric M. Bost, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Human Services; Don A. Gilbert, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; Jim Hein, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services; Max Rarrell, Commissioner of the Texas Rehabilitation Commission; and Reyn Archer, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health.

The second panel discussed local perspectives and included Mario Espinoza, President of Rio Grande Valley Home Health Alliance; Linda Salazar, President of Aemnant Group, Inc.; Floyd Rhodes, member of the Texas Assisted Living Association; and Sonya River, member of the Valley Association for Independent Living. The meeting continued with public testimony.

The committee will report its findings and any necessary recommendations to the 76 Legislature which convenes in January 1999.

SENATE JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE MEETS IN EULESS

EULESS - The members of the Senate Interim Committee on Jurisprudence met at the Euless Public Library on Wednesday, April 22, for a public hearing. The committee has been charged by Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock to study 'structured settlements '. Structured settlements are methods of providing payments to a plaintiff over a period of time, rather than a single, lump sum payment.

Representatives from insurance companies, attorneys, and plaintiffs as well as officials from the Structured Settlement Trade Association testified in front of the committee which includes Senators Rodney Ellis of Houston (chair), Chris Harris of Arlington (vice-chair), David Cain of Dallas, Gregory Luna of San Antonio, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, and Robert Duncan of Lubbock. Senators Royce West of Dallas and David Sibley of Waco were also in attendance.

The committee will report its findings and any necessary recommendations to the 76 Legislature which convenes in January 1999.

STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HEARS TESTIMONY FROM CONCERNED TEXANS

AUSTIN -The Senate Interim Committee on State Affairs met at the State Capitol on Wednesday, April 22, for a public hearing. Citizens from all over the state voiced their concerns on various issues from education to teachers' salaries to housing foreclosure laws in the hopes that the legislature will step in to improve their situations.

Chairing the committee was Senator Ken Armbrister of Victoria and members include Senators Drew Nixon of Carthage, David Cain of Dallas, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, and John Whitmire of Houston.

The committee will report its findings and any necessary recommendations to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January 1999.

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