FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2004
Austin, TX--Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. today announced he is looking forward to working on the interim charges of the Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade (IRT) recently made by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
"I am extremely pleased that Lt. Governor Dewhurst has charged our committee with studying issues that are of such great importance to Texas and the Border region," said Sen. Lucio, Chairman of the Committee. "Lt. Gov. Dewhurst realizes the importance of these issues and that these charges will foster discussion on methods of improving our economy, assisting our neediest of Texans, and improving conditions as they relate to trade and transportation."
"I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work," added Sen. Lucio. "We will be letting the media and public know when and where our hearings will be held so that we can get all the input necessary to fully carry out our charges."
The IRT Committee will research the issues included in their charges and develop recommendations for the next legislative session in January 2005. In addition to Chairman Lucio, current members of the Committee include Vice-Chairman Sen. Elliot Shapleigh, Sen. John Carona, Sen. Craig Estes, and Sen. Jane Nelson.
The charges include the following:
- Study the activities of the U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Program: Border 2012, particularly in reference to the grant program. The Committee shall also monitor the distribution of funds from the North American Development Bank and the Border Environmental Cooperative Commission, as well as review the activities of the International Boundary and Water Commission. The Committee should make recommendations for efficient use, tracking, and leverage of funds and for effective coordination of state policies relating to the Border region.
- Study the implementation of House Bill 109 and make recommendations for improvement of the import/export and certification system and for maximization of the tax dollars collected.
- Study trends and issues concerning trade, immigration, and employment along the Border, including the impact of 10 years of NAFTA, and make recommendations to enhance economic development and growth. Examine the impact of the US-VISIT program and the Trade Adjustment Act of 2002, and the current transition of oversight of the Border to the to the Department of Homeland Security and make recommendations for improvement in state law, as necessary.
- Study and make recommendations for improving colonias infrastructure, including water services, wastewater services and transportation infrastructure. All recommendations should include an analysis of cost effective alternatives for achieving results and an assessment of current efforts to improve infrastructure.