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June 25, 1998     (512) 463-0300

SENATE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE COMMITTEE HOLDS JOINT HEARING WITH HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS AND PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEES

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Children's Health Insurance held a joint public hearing with the House Appropriations and Public Health Committees on Thursday, June 25, in the House Appropriations Committee Room in the Capitol Extension.

The Senate's interim committee was established to study the relationship between the provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 relating to children's health insurance and the Texas health care infrastructure and to provide oversight for the efforts of the state health and human services agencies to develop a state children's health insurance program. Members of the committee include Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso, and Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits package. Members heard an update on the Phase I Plan from Health and Human Services Commissioner Don Gilbert, June 25, 1998and staff briefings from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), and discussions by health care providers, consumers and advocates, and insurance providers.

The committee will submit its final report to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January 1999.

GANGS AND JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMITTEE MEETS IN SENATE CHAMBER

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Gangs and Juvenile Justice held a public hearing Thursday, June 25, in the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol. Members of the committee include Senators Royce West of Dallas serving as chair, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Chris Harris of Arlington, Jon Lindsay of Houston, and Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth. The committee was formed to study the increasing gang problem in Texas and make recommendations to address the problems. Areas of study include the collaboration between law enforcement, education officials, and state and local juvenile justice agencies; prevention and intervention efforts; the needs of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies; and criminal information systems. The committee is also examining the need, if any, for juvenile court masters to assist courts with juvenile jurisdictions in speedy and effective justice for juvenile offenders and their victims.

The committee heard from representatives of Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Institutional Division, Parole Division, and the Community Justice Assistance Division, Texas Youth Commission, Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Board of Pardons And Parole, and various police departments.

The committee will report its findings to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of 1999.

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