Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Pair of Bipartisan Reform Bills by Sen. Wendy Davis
AUSTIN — The Senate today overwhelmingly passed two bipartisan government reform bills by Sen. Wendy Davis: Senate Bill 1390, to audit Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund; and Senate Bill 895, to require that records by an organization created to raise funds for the state's troubled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas be made available to the public.
SB 1390 would require a state audit of the Texas Enterprise Fund by January 2015. The legislation comes in response to increasing questions surrounding the Fund and increasing concern by the Legislature that it lacks accountability. The audit would be the first of its kind in the Fund's 10-year history. The Fund has distributed over $485 million in grants thus far and currently has a balance of over $140 million.
"Nearly a half-billion dollars of tax money has been handed out for ten years without ever being held accountable to a state audit," said Davis. "Texans deserve to know if their tax dollars are being correctly and successfully used to create good jobs. The audit will greatly help the Legislature in the next session to determine whether to continue or modify the Enterprise Fund."
An editorial by the Fort Worth Star Telegram recently recognized the importance of SB 1390, stating that the bipartisan legislation is a "worthy goal [that] should make this measure an easy vote in the full Senate and the House."
Sen. Wendy Davis also passed SB 895, legislation to require a non-profit organization established to support the state Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) be subject to state open records laws.
"The State Auditor's report showed that there is a pressing need for accountability at CPRIT," said Davis. "Texans authorized the use of $3 billion in state funding for cancer research, and Texans deserve to know that agency's mission to find a cure for cancer will be honored. By opening the Foundation's books to the public, SB 895 will help restore some of the trust that has been badly tarnished by secretive activities."
In reporting on the problems at the troubled cancer agency in January, the Texas State Auditor's Office recommended that the Legislature "require the CPRIT Foundation to make its records, books, and reports available to the public."