Austin - Five o'clock this afternoon is the deadline for all state agencies to respond to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's request for a seven percent reduction in their spending in order to create $700 million in savings for this biennium's budget. Dewhurst said that many of the agencies have already complied, some with reductions larger than seven percent, and the agencies asking for an exemption will be handled on a case by case basis.
"Home ownership is one of the greatest dreams of many Texans and we must give them tools to make these purchases with confidence," Senator Robert Duncan from Lubbock told reporters in a press conference held this afternoon to announce today's filing of Senate Bill (SB) 383. The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Troy Fraser from Horseshoe Bay and several members of the Texas House of Representatives, was created as a way to avoid the expense of litigation and to set stronger standards for residential construction.
The bill, backed by the Texas Association of Builders, creates a self-funded Texas Residential Construction Commission made up of six members of the building industry, one professional engineer, and two public members. Senator Duncan explained that this state commission will adopt standards to regulate how homes are built and create a resolution process to settle disputes between homeowners and homebuilders.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services held an organizational meeting today. Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health, said some of the challenges that he thinks need to be addressed are: obesity, HIV medications, children with special healthcare needs, and bio-terrorism.
The Senate Committee on Education met to organize as well and to hear invited testimony on School Finance.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, February 10, 2003, at 2:00 p.m.