Senate Working Together in Bipartisan Manner on Upcoming Homeowners Insurance Regulation Bill
Austin - Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, along with seven Republican and Democratic Senators, announced that they have reached a consensus on homeowners insurance regulation. At a Capitol press conference today, Dewhurst said that he is optimistic that they will have a bill ready to recommend to their colleagues in the next several weeks that will drive homeowners insurance rates down, but be fair to the insurance companies. According to Horseshoe Bay Senator Troy Fraser, Chairman of the Business and Commerce Committee, a rate rollback in the twelve to fifteen percent range is appropriate as a starting point. Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio said that she felt the bill would prohibit the unfair and discriminatory use of credit scoring and require the disclosure of credit scoring models.
The Senate met in the House Chamber this morning for a joint session to hear Chief Justice Thomas Phillips deliver the State of the Judiciary Address. The Chief Justice urged restructuring the judicial system and outlined a series of ways that he said would not merely make our courts more economical, but more efficient and responsive as well.
Phillips asked the Legislature to streamline the courts by reviewing and amending unclear and inconsistent language in statutes and to redistrict the state's district and appellate courts. He also supported the idea of retention elections for judges at the end of their terms, saying that they would give voters more control over their judges than they now enjoy in judicial elections.
On the topic of homeland security, Jay Kimbrough updated the Senate Infrastructure, Development, and Security Special Select Subcommittee on several of the forty-four recommendations listed in a January 2002 report that had been submitted to the Governor. Kimbrough, Governor Rick Perry's Homeland Security Coordinator, reported that a multi-disciplinary, multi-function, warning communication center should be up and running in ten to twelve months.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, March 5, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.