from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
September 27, 2004

Senator Zaffirini Chairs Subcommittee to Review State Contracts

(AUSTIN) -The Senate Finance Subcommittee on State Contracting Practices on Monday (Sept. 27) heard testimony about improving the effectiveness of state contracts. Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, subcommittee chair, said she and her colleagues will recommend how to enhance government efficiency, accountability and ethical standards.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst directed all Senate committees to address this critical issue, and Senator Steve Ogden, Senate Finance Committee chair, charged the subcommittee with making recommendations to the full committee.

Subcommittee members are Senators Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin; Kim Brimer, R-Fort Worth; Robert Deuell, R-Greenville; Kyle Janek, R-Houston; Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso; and Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.

"In light of the difficult budget decisions made during the 2003 regular legislative session and the possibility that we will face another tight budget in the 2005 session, it is imperative that every dollar spent provides the greatest possible return," Senator Zaffirini said. She also is vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

The initial hearing included testimony from representatives of the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Attorney General, Texas Building and Procurement Commission, State Auditor, Legislative Budget Board and the Department of Information Resources.

"A recent report from the state auditor outlined some egregious errors in judgment regarding some state contracts," Senator Zaffirini said. "This subcommittee will make recommendations to ensure that all agents involved with state contracts are more proactive in achieving intended goals and that all state agencies and contractors take notice that we will not tolerate misuse of state funds."

The subcommittee will meet again on Monday, Oct. 11, and will report to the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

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