Senate Unanimously Passed Legislation Requiring Insurers to Disclose Rates, Supporting Data
Austin - The Senate today unanimously passed the first bill of the 78th Legislative session. Senate Bill (SB) 310, sponsored by Senator Troy Fraser from Marble Falls, requires all insurers of residential property doing business in Texas to immediately file their current rates and estimated rates for the next six-month period, as well as any supporting data, with the commissioner of insurance. The commissioner has thirty days from the passage of the bill to report to the legislature whether the rates are just, adequate, reasonable, and not excessive or unfairly discriminatory. The passage of SB 310 came about two weeks after Governor Rick Perry declared insurance an emergency matter to be immediately addressed by the legislature and, according to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, it is the first step toward lowering homeowners insurance rates throughout the state.
The Senate met in the House Chamber for a joint session at noon today for Governor Rick Perry's forty-five minute State of the State address. "It is not the state of our state that concerns me. It is the state of our government," said Perry, who spoke of building government anew with responsibility, transparency, and thrift as the foundations. "We must begin by setting clear and limited priorities," said the Governor, who listed his top three to be education, the economic security and safety of citizens, and the fiscal responsibility of government. He also outlined his suggestions to balance the budget without raising taxes, saying that "Texas families don't want, don't need, and don't deserve new taxes."
The Senate Committee on Education met this morning to consider and hear public testimony on two bills sponsored by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth. SB 83 calls for the observance of one minute of silence during each school day in public schools. The committee requested the bill be redrafted and brought forth at a later time. The committee passed SB 86, which amends the bill relating to the eligibility of a high school graduate for automatic admission to an institution of higher education by requiring the completion of a required curriculum.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, February 12, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.