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June 30, 1998     (512) 463-0300

SPECIAL COMMITTEE DISCUSSES HOPWOOD IMPACT ON EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

AUSTIN - The special committee on Hopwood, State Contract and Employment Practices met at the state capitol on Tuesday, June 30, in a public hearing. The committee, comprised of six senators and other state officials, took testimony regarding historically underutilized businesses and other issues affected by the Hopwood decision (Hopwood v. state of Texas, 1996) which challenged affirmative action policies in areas of education and employment. The members are also responsible for 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. Also sitting in on the committee's hearing was Senator David Sibley of Waco.

Tuesday's hearing centered around invited testimony given by agency representatives regarding historically underutilized businesses. Those testifying included Tim Warren, director of the City of Austin's Small & Minority Business Resources Department, who gave a local perspective of how these businesses are doing and provided suggestions on what the legislature could do to help them. Employees of the Texas Department of Transportation representing the agency's Construction Division, the Business Opportunity Programs Office, and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Compliance Office provided suggestions to the committee regarding the charge. Robin Smith and John Swinton, both from the State Auditor's Office, and Tom Treadway, executive director of the General Services Commission also testified.

The meeting concluded with lengthy public testimony from witnesses interested in historically underutilized businesses and the committee's other charges.

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