FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2004
AUSTIN, Texas--Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst Wednesday (Feb. 25) appointed Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to the Health and Human Services Transition Legislative Oversight Committee. The Committee comprises two senators appointed by the Lt. Governor, two representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, three public members appointed by the Governor and the HHSC Executive Commissioner as an ex-officio member.
The Legislative Oversight Committee was created in 2003 during the 78th Legislative Session to oversee the massive consolidation of all health and human services agencies as required by House Bill 2292 by Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R- Burleson.
House Bill 2292 requires the existing 12 health and human services agencies to be reorganized into five major agencies. The new agencies are the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Department of State Health Services, Department of Aging and Disability Services, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and Department of Family and Protective Services.
Senator Zaffirini will serve on the committee with Senator Jane Nelson, Rep. Wohlgemuth, Rep. John Davis, Noe Fernandez, Chris W. Kyker, Kenn S. George and Commissioner Albert Hawkins.
"The Health and Human Services Transition Legislative Oversight Committee members have been charged with a great responsibility. With the consolidation of the Health and Human Services agencies underway, our role is to ensure that direct services to Texans are protected and even enhanced," Senator Zaffirini said.
This is the second interim appointment that Senator Zaffirini receives from Lt. Gov. Dewhurst this year. Earlier this month he named her to the powerful Legislative Budget Board.
Last year Lt. Gov. Dewhurst also appointed her Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee and to the Senate Committees on Education, Health and Human Services and International Relations and Trade and to the Appropriations Conference Committee, the Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education and the Legislative Oversight Committee on Higher Education.
Ranked fourth in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, Senator Zaffirini has served three consecutive terms as Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, five terms as a member of the Appropriations Conference Committee that writes the state's budget, six terms on the Senate Finance Committee and eight consecutive terms on the Senate Education Committee.
"Serving on the Transition Legislative Oversight Committee will be challenging," Senator Zaffirini said. "My pledge is to do my best in prioritizing the needs and interest of the families of our district and of our great state. I am grateful to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst for giving me another great opportunity to make a difference."
For more information contact the Senator's Capitol office at 512/463-0121 or visit our website at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist21/dist21.htm.