Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas Welcome to the Official Website for the Texas Senate
Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
October 12, 2011
Contact: Will Krueger
(512) 463-0121

AUSTIN — A new website to promote transparency and keep Texans informed in real time was launched at the first hearing of the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency.

The website,, features key hearing dates and agendas and allows for real-time posting of written testimony during committee hearings.

Chaired by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Representative Dan Branch, R-Dallas, the oversight committee heard from six national and state higher education experts and from 20 public witnesses on Sept. 21.

"This website is one way the committee is meeting our charge to promote transparency," Senator Zaffirini said. "The Posterous platform is simple, yet effective. It facilitates the quick posting of documents that the public has a right to access. No matter where they live, Texans interested in higher education can use the site to find live and archived video of committee hearings and to download key documents. I am thankful to Senator John Carona, who implemented a similar system for the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, which we used as a model."

"The new web platform expands our reach," said Representative Branch. "As we expect our academic leaders to shine more light on their operations, it's important that we develop innovative ways to provide a similar level of communication to the public."

The Joint Oversight Committee was created by Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus to ensure that governing boards follow best practices when developing and implementing policy; look for major policy decisions to be vetted adequately and discussed transparently; and protect the excellence and high quality of our state's institutions of higher education.

Senator Zaffirini and Representative Branch also chair the standing higher education committees of their respective chambers.

Other House members appointed to the joint oversight committee by Speaker Straus are Representatives Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton; Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio; Eric Johnson, D-Dallas; Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; and Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie.

Other Senate members appointed by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst are Senators John Carona, R-Dallas; Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo; and Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

The committee's next hearings are scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17, and Friday, Nov. 18.