Senators Criticize Agencies for Not Complying with HUB Requirements
Austin - San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Dallas Senator Royce West, along with members of the House and statewide organizations, held a Capitol press conference today to criticize state agencies that are not reaching out to minority-owned businesses, known as Historically Underutilized Businesses or HUBs, for short. "We will be wary of trusting agencies with other fiscal and statutory responsibilities when they cannot even comply with current law with regard to HUB's," was Senator Van de Putte's message. Before the 78th Legislative Session ends, Senator West will ask the Legislative Budget Board to act on the provision passed during the last legislative session to revoke an agency's delegated purchasing authority if it is determined that they have not acted in "good faith" after one year of monitoring the agency.
A State Auditor's report released last Friday concluded that nine agencies which were audited failed to comply with HUB requirements. According to the report, three of the audited agencies did not make a "good-faith effort" to give minority-owned business the opportunity to compete for state contracts.
In other news, Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound announced the filing of two bills today to "beautify Texas roads and make them more user friendly to travelers and tourists." Senate Bill (SB) 511 brings Texas into the national scenic byways program and authorizes the Texas Department of Transportation to develop a program to designate highways as State Scenic Byways and apply for federal grants. Billboards are a primary target of her initiative. According to the Scenic Texas organization, there are over 30,000 billboards in Texas. Nelson's SB 512 would prohibit the construction of any new billboards along Texas roads.
The Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education met upon adjournment of the Senate and passed SB 58, sponsored by Senator West, out of committee. The legislation allows four-year colleges and universities to waive tuition and fees for high school students enrolled in college-level courses.
The State Affairs Committee voted to pass two bills on to the Senate. SB 84 requires the prompt disclosure of public information under the public information law. SB 121 allows the board of a hospital district health maintenance organization to discuss financial matters in a closed session.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, February 18, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.