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May 26, 1998     (512) 463-0300

SPECIAL COMMITTEE DISCUSSES HOPWOOD, EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

AUSTIN - On Tuesday, May 26, the Special Committee on Hopwood, State Contract and Employment Practices met in an organizational meeting at the State Capitol. The committee, comprised of six senators and other state officials, is responsible for looking into the various issues affected by the Hopwood decision (Hopwood v. state of Texas, 1996) which challenged affirmative action policies. The members are also looking into minority issues present in state contract and employment practices.

Those senators serving on the special committee include Frank Madla of San Antonio, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Rodney Ellis of Houston, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, and Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant. The committee is chaired by former Houston mayor, Bob Lanier.

Tuesday's meeting consisted of invited testimony regarding several of the committee charges including a panel discussion on higher education. The panel consisted of representatives from the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the U.T. System, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the A&M University System, and the Attorney General's Office.

Testifying in regard to employment practices was Bill Hale of the Human Rights Commission and Jim Todd from the Attorney General's Office. The members were then briefed on historically underutilized businesses by representatives from the General Services Commission and the State Auditor's Office.

SENATE ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE DISCUSSES TECHNOLOGY ISSUES

AUSTIN - Members of the Senate Committee on Administration held a brief meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 26, in order to review the 1998-99 budget set forth by the Legislative Council. The budget specified certain requirements requested by Senate and Committee offices such as extra personal computers, laptops, and additional software. The committee also looked into the possibility of allowing the senators to vote from the laptops on their desks during legislative sessions. Other issues discussed included policies and guidelines for phone requests and attendance policies for Senate Technology Center staff.

Senator Chris Harris of Arlington chairs the committee and members include Senators J.E. "Buster" Brown of Lake Jackson, Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, Ken Armbrister of Victoria, David Sibley of Waco, and Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi.

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