Dewhurst Hopes to Continue Current Medicaid Coverage
Austin - Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst told members of the press today that although almost every state in the country has been forced to cut back on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, he hopes to be able to provide the same coverage for people who are currently eligible. Dewhurst said that he made the recommendation to the Senate Finance Committee to delay the implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 43, passed during the 77th Legislative session to simplify Medicaid, in order to achieve approximately $400 million in savings.
This afternoon, several Senators attended the biennial 2003 Texas Capitol Schoolhouse taking place in the Ground Floor Rotunda. They met with teachers and students from across the state who demonstrated the importance of technology in the schools. Austin Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, sponsor of the event since 1991, praised the unique legislative event and said that these children will be our future leaders. "We're learning more from you than you're learning from us," Senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso told the children, "and it's our job to make sure that this great, great idea of public education in the state of Texas only gets better."
The Senate unanimously voted the passage of seven bills in session today. Senator Barrientos was pleased with the passage of his SB 193, which he said will save the lives of our police officers and EMS personnel. SB 193 requires vehicles to change lanes and reduce their speed when passing a stationary emergency vehicle that has it's flashing lights on and makes it a Class A misdemeanor for any violation that results in bodily injury or property damage. Senate Bill (SB) 164, which prohibits the recording and televising of jury deliberations in criminal and civil proceedings, was also approved by the Senate. Houston Senator Jon Lindsay, sponsor of SB 164, said that to allow the recording is a terrible idea and constitutes a clear violation of the law. Dallas Senator John Carona's SB 191 was passed on to the House as well and would raise the penalty from $125 to $140 to reinstate a license suspended from a DWI offense in order to defray associated costs. Other bills passed today by the Senate include SB 43, SB 121, and SB 330.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, March 3, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.