Legislation Aids Insurance Policy Search for Holocaust Victims' Heirs
Austin - Children of Holocaust victims can discover previously-unknown insurance benefits under a bill passed by the Texas Senate today. Under Senate Bill (SB) 1061, insurers that sold such policies would be required to provide information about them to the Department of Insurance (DOI). The bill, authored by Houston Senator Rodney Ellis, includes a provision that would use the required disclosures to create the Texas Holocaust Insurance Policy Registry . The DOI would make this list available to Holocaust victims and their heirs so that they can collect on family members' policies.
The Senate also passed legislation authored by Houston Senator John Whitmire that would reorganize the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP). The board determines release, conditions of parole, and modification and withdrawal of mandatory supervision for inmates.
Ellis introduced an amendment to SB 1678 that would require TBPP to hold a meeting when considering death penalty cases to ensure proper review. "If the Board is going to make a decision whether someone lives or dies, they should at least have to hold a meeting," said Ellis.
Senator Robert Duncan said that SB 1662, also approved by the Senate, would provide for better management of diabetes in schools. Under the measure, students with diabetes would be required to have an individual health plan for treatment while at school. Schools would be required to allow students with written permission from a parent or guardian to perform various diabetes maintenance activities.
Other legislation passed by the Senate today would give political subdivisions and property owners' associations the authorization to trap and transport white-tailed deer in urban areas of the state. SB 1582, by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth, would require these groups to obtain a permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and show proof that an overpopulation of white-tailed deer exists within their area.
In an after-session press conference, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said the a redistricting bill filed by Arlington Senator Chris Harris similar to the one presented in the House may not have the votes necessary to consider it. According to Senate rules, a four-fifths majority of the body (25 members) must agree to introduce a bill after the first sixty days of the session.
On the topic of budget negotiations, Dewhurst said that the Senate is making progress in working with the House in the conference committee. The conferees have been working in groups on the different articles of the budget. Dewhurst expects discussions on the Health and Human Services and Education articles to be completed by Saturday. "We're on a tight deadline," said the Lieutenant Governor. There are only about two and a half weeks left until the June 2nd end of the 78th Legislative Session.
In addition, Dewhurst indicated that there may be plans for a special session on school finance. He said that he will never give up on school finance problems until they have been solved.
The Senate will reconvene Friday, May 16, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.