AUSTIN - Today at the Capitol, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said he is pleased with the progress the Senate is making in reaching a consensus on what essential state services are and ensuring that they are funded. In a short press conference following the session, Dewhurst predicted that they will be going into budget hearings in approximately two weeks.
Dewhurst said one of his priorities for this legislative session is making more capacity for our highways. "The people of Texas--rural, urban--need more capacity built, so we're going to look for ways to do that--whether it's through issuing bonds, whether it's through toll roads." He is adamant about not raising taxes.
Dewhurst spoke on the issue of homeland security again, saying: "As war clouds mount and become darker on the horizon, it's important that the federal government remember we're really on the front line of defense here in the states and to provide as much assistance as they can."
He also reported that the emergency matters declared in yesterday's session have already been referred to committees. Automobile and homeowner's insurance concerns were referred to the Business and Commerce Committee and medical malpractice and tort reform matters to the Senate Committee on State Affairs.
Left: Sen. Barrientos and Coach Conradt / Right: L-R; Senators Shapiro, Nelson, Van de Putte, Coach Conradt and Senator Zaffirini
Featured on the Senate floor were several distinguished guests today, including Jody Conradt, University of Texas Women's Basketball coach. Senator Gonzolo Barrientos of Austin sponsored a resolution commending her on her "exceptional accomplishment and an outstanding career" after she earned her 800th career coaching victory. Also in attendance were members from Leadership Lubbock to help recognize January 28th, 2003, as Lubbock Day at the Capitol. The day was also declared Catholic Charities day by a resolution sponsored by Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr. from Galena Park. Senator Kip Averitt from Waco commended Curtis Patterson as "truly an American hero" for his help in a car accident and Sentor Rodney Ellis of Houston expressed his appreciation for Texas Southern University.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, January 29, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.