Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 5, 2003
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez
Phone: (512) 463-0127

Bill to expand Texas Transportation Commission passes House

AUSTIN, TX - Today the Texas House of Representatives voted 82 to 58 for state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.s bill that would expand the Texas Transportation Commission from three to five members. If the Senate considers and concurs with changes made in the House, Senate Bill 409 will go to the Governor.

I am extremely pleased that Texans will now have greater representation on one of our states most important boards, said Sen. Lucio. Rep. Norma Chavez, House sponsor of my bill, and the entire House are to be commended for ensuring that the transportation demands of this state are better met.

Senate Bill 409 was amended in the House with language requiring that the members of the Commission reflect the diverse geographic and population groups of the state, and that one member reside in a rural area.

Additionally, SB 409 prevents a violation of the Open Meetings Act which can presently occur when two Commissioners talk in person or on the phone. The bill maintains the same power the Governor now has to appoint all members.

The Transportation Commission is one of only eight three-member boards from a total of 111 boards the Governor appoints, noted Sen. Lucio. An added benefit of this legislation is that now the Commission can operate two subcommittees working simultaneously on different issues, which is currently not possible because of its limited size.

The Commissions present status also limits the valuable difference of opinion that subcommittee members can provide.

My bill aligns the representation of the Transportation Commission with that of other state agency policy boards, added Sen. Lucio. The expansion of a Commission that manages billions of dollars a year and must meet the demands of a rapidly growing population makes good policy sense.

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Note: Legislative Director Ian Randolph handles this legislation.

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