JOINT MEETING OF SENATE AND HOUSE COMMITTEES HELD IN SAN ANTONIO
SAN ANTONIO - On Wednesday, April 15, legislators from both the Senate and the House of Representatives met in a joint public hearing at the San Antonio City Council Chambers. Members from the Senate Interim Committee on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the House Economic Development Committee discussed general trade matters affecting San Antonio as well as the state.
Members of the Senate's NAFTA Committee include Senators Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi (chair), John Carona of Dallas, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Mario Gallegos of Houston, and Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso. Members of the House Economic Development Committee include Representatives Rene Oliveira as chair, Ken Yarbrough, Sherri Greenberg, Richard Raymond, Leticia Van de Putte, Jim Keffer, Eugene J. Seaman, Vilma Luna, and Bill Siebert.
"This was the first joint meeting between these committees," said Senator Truan. "San Antonio's success is vital to the state's success - the committees want to find out what the state can do to build on San Antonio's record, and we want to bring that information back to the Texas Legislature when it convenes in January 1999."
Truan stated that the city of San Antonio exports 7 percent of all goods out of Texas to Mexico and Canada making the city one of Texas' leaders in trade. This statement was according to figures from the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research. "These figures are significant because they translate into jobs - 18.7 jobs for every million dollars exported," said Truan.
Testifying before the committees on local trade issues were San Antonio's mayor, Howard Peak, as well as several representatives from the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Speaking on transportation issues were representatives from the Greater Kelly Development Corporation, International Trade Data Systems, and the Texas Transportation Institute's Regional Division. Finally, the legislators heard testimony on federal NAFTA issues from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, the North American Development Bank, and a local attorney serving as the Texas member of the Advisory Committee to the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission.
Both committees will gather their findings and make any necessary recommendations to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of next year.