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April 22, 1999     (512) 463-0300
U.S. Senator John Glenn, Lt. Governor Rick Perry and others
Ohio U.S. Senator John Glenn presenting Lt. Governor Rick Perry with a collage of memorabilia from his historic return to space. Pictured Left to Right - Captain James Wetherbee, Lake Jackson Senator J.E. 'Buster' Brown, Perry, Glenn, and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar.

AMERICAN HERO VISITS STATE CAPITOL

AUSTIN - Space explorer and United States Senator from Ohio John Glenn spent today at the State Capitol to help promote the benefits of space technology. During his visit, Senator Glenn was welcomed with a resolution by the Senate during the session, held a press conference with Lt. Governor Rick Perry and Lake Jackson Senator J.E.'Buster' Brown, and testified before a Senate Committee. Glenn urged the Senate Subcommittee on Technology and Business Growth to adopt a bill creating the Business Technology Outreach Program. Senate Bill (SB) 976 by Senator J.E. "Buster" Brown of Lake Jackson promotes the use of NASA technology in private business. "That's what NASA is all about. We're not just up there enjoying ourselves because somebody thought it would be nice to go up and enjoy yourself. We're up there to do basic, fundamental research," said Glenn.

The astronaut turned politician touted the benefits of the Johnson Space Center before testifying in the House on a bill expanding cooperative education programs between the facility and Texas schools, "If we can excite our kids into more interest in math and science and use the vehicle of their interest in the space program to do that, that's our advantage whether your in Texas or for the whole country."

Colonias would have greater access to vital services such as water, sewer and electricity under legislation passed out of the Senate. The Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 1421 includes a series of measures that are designed to improve living conditions in the Border areas. The bill is authored by Senators Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso, Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi, and Judith Zaffirini of Laredo; all senators representing areas along the Rio Grande.

Senator Lucio applauded the contributions of all those involved, "Never before have I seen, myself, a coordinated effort by every state agency come together and put a piece of legislation that will go a long way." Lucio chairs the Special Committee on Border Affairs which passed the legislation this morning to speed up and fund transportation improvements between Texas and Mexico.

Corpus Christi Senator Carlos F. Truan used a bill relating to issuing bonds for charter schools to speak against using public money for private education. Charter schools are created by the State Board of Education and are run by non-profit organizations. Although he said the bill in question did not transfer public money into private hands he warned about even considering that option, "We need to understand what we are doing here today with this bill will be part of an agenda to divert public monies in my opinion." SB 1343 sponsor Teel Bivins of Amarillo says the bill just extends a financing mechanism for charter schools without using public money. The Senate passed the bill.

The Senate will reconvene tomorrow, April 23, at 9:00 a.m.

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