The Texas State Senate News
AUSTIN - Today the Senate passed Senate Resolution (SR) 128, sponsored by Corpus Christi Senator Carlos F. Truan honoring the 49th Armored Division of the Army National Guard, a group assigned exclusively to Texas and the first of its kind in national guard history. The 49th Armored Division has played a significant role in the nation's history. During the Berlin crisis in 1961-2, they were one of only two National Guard units called for active duty; and in 1989 they assisted in the demise of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. In 2000, the division will deploy to Bosnia as Task Force Eagle, where they will command a group of multinational peacekeepers to help ensure continued stability in the region.
The emergency legislation to relieve economic problems in Texas' oil fields passed unanimously out of the Senate's Finance Committee today. Senate Bill (SB) 290, sponsored by Lake Jackson Senator J.E. 'Buster' Brown, suspends the severance tax for wells producing less than 15 barrels a day when prices drop below $15 per barrel.
Two senators on the committee, Steve Ogden of Bryan and Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, chose not to vote because they derive part of their livelihood from the oil business. Although Moncrief abstained from voting on the measure, he strongly supported the temporary solution but added it might not be a temporary problem, "Once you reach a situation where oil is worth more in the ground than above ground, we're in trouble and all indications are this isn't a short term issue for Texas. This is not just a temporary bump in the road."
Brown testified that two thirds of the state's school districts receive money from wells affected by the legislation since property taxes provide education funding.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, suggested Brown could try as early as tomorrow to get three fourths of the senators to agree to waive the rules to take up the bill on the Senate floor.
The Senate reconvenes tomorrow at 10 a.m.
2/4/99, Thursday - Finance Committee Public Hearing at 9:00 a.m. in the Capitol Extension, room E1.036
2/4/99, Thursday - State Affairs Public Hearing at 12:30 or 30 minutes upon adjournment in the Senate Chamber