A BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FROM SENA by liuqingzhan

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									                      A BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FROM SENATOR FLORENCE SHAPIRO
                                                     TEXAS SENATE DISTRICT 8

JULY 3, 2003 – AUSTIN, TEXAS
CONTACT: florence.shapiro@senate.state.tx.us or 512/463-0108
WORD COUNT: 1685

Redistricting Hearing Set for Dallas
The Senate Committee on Jurisprudence, which is overseeing Redistricting in the Senate, has set a
public hearing for the metroplex next week. The committee will meet on Tuesday, July 8 at 3 p.m.
in Room 224 of the University of North Texas System Center in Dallas. The address is 8915 S.
Hampton Road. Public comment and testimony will be heard on congressional redistricting and the
public is invited to attend. For more information, please contact the committee at 512/463-0395 or
log onto http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/research/redist/pdf/senatehearings.pdf.


Shapiro Retains Top Honors
Sen. Florence Shapiro held her spot in the Top Ten Legislators list named by political newsletter,
Capitol Inside, which lauded her for offering “an effective mix of substance and style while building
bridges made to last.” The publication handed out kudos to top lawmakers for three six-week
periods. Shapiro made the list each time. She is joined this time by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen.
Ken Armbrister, D-Victoria, Rep. Jaime Capelo, D-Corpus Christi, Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, Sen.
Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mount, Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, Rep.
John Smithee, R-Amarillo, Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston, and Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson.


Governor Expands Call on Redistricting
Lawmakers convened again Monday after only a 28-day break to take up congressional redistricting.
Tuesday Governor Perry expanded the call to include nearly 30 additional items for legislative
consideration, including asbestos lawsuit limitations, easing environmental regulations, election law
changes and government reorganization.

The following is a detailed list of expanded items for consideration:
   1. Legislation relating to corrections to HB 3588 from the just completed regular session
       concerning transportation and trauma issues.

   2. Legislation permitting the reorganization of legislative support agencies and offices.

   3. Legislation relating to a transfer in the oversight of Regional Planning Commissions to the State
       Auditor's Office.

   4. Legislation relating to the abolition of the Texas Commission on Private Security.



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5. Legislation relating to the abolition of the Office of State-Federal Relations and transferring its
    functions to the Governor's Office.

6. Legislation relating to the abolition of the State Aircraft Pooling Board.

7. Legislation permitting the Legislative Budget Board to meet by teleconference.

8. Legislation permitting the Governor to designate the presiding officers for executive branch
    agencies.

9. Legislation modifying the Governor's budget authority.

10. Legislation relating to legislative and executive branch working papers on the budget.

11. Legislation creating a study on private prisons.

12. Legislation modifying the organizational pattern of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

13. Legislation designating the Texas Department of Public Safety as the agency to establish school
    bus safety standards.

14. Legislation modifying the scope and function of the State Office of Risk Management.
    Legislation relating to a modification in the qualifications for the Commissioner of Insurance.

15. Legislation appropriating fees established by legislation during the regular session that remain
    unappropriated.

16. Legislation relating to the abandonment of proceeds on demutualization.

17. Legislation to re-establish the runoff primary election date to the second Tuesday in April.

18. Legislation to provide one uniform deadline for receiving late ballots for all elections and one
    uniform time period for the ballot board to convene to count late mail ballots.

19. Legislation to provide for one uniform day for canvassing elections for the general election for
    state and county officers and for all other local elections.

20. Legislation to re-establish the first Saturday in May as the May uniform election date.

21. Legislation relating to civil claims involving exposure to asbestos.

22. Legislation directing the Texas Coordinating Board for Higher Education to review the
    organization and operation of each university system office.

23. Legislation streamlining the environmental permitting and regulation process in Texas for
    competitiveness with other states.

24. Legislation relating to the procedures followed in condemnation proceeding in a county civil
    court at law in Harris County.

25. Legislation relating to a reconstitution of the membership of the Texas Building and
    Procurement Commission.

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   26. Legislation relating to a modification in the qualifications for membership on the Texas
       Veterans Commission.

   27. Legislation relating to a modification in the qualifications for membership on the Texas Parks
       and Wildlife Commission.


Budget is Balanced, Certified and Signed
When lawmakers came together in January, they were hit with the news that the anticipated shortfall
had nearly doubled from $5.1 billion to $9.9 billion. Many believed the only answer was to raise taxes
and some even advocated a state income tax. But given direction from the Governor on a zero-based
budget, budget-writers went about the budget differently. They believe that crisis in Texas spells
opportunity. Never before had the Legislature been given the chance to examine every state
program, agency and commission for necessity and justification, building our budget from the ground
up.

And for the first time in history, government growth was slowed. After increased state spending of
360 percent over the last 20 years, the Texas Legislature passed a $117.4 billion biennial budget,
reducing General Revenue by $2.6 billion from last biennium and making more than $5 billion in
spending cuts. Additionally, Texas was able to draw down $2.2 billion in new federal funds. As a
member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Shapiro worked hard to ensure sufficient funding for
public education and is pleased that they were able to allocate $1.2 billion new dollars to public
education.


Perry Signs Chamber Liability Bill
Gov. Rick Perry has signed into law SB 360 which provides volunteers of local chambers of commerce
with protections from lawsuits. The bill amends the Texas Charitable Immunities Act to extend the
protections under the Act to local chambers of commerce. The new law goes into effect Sept. 1st.
Texas Instruments to Do Business in Texas, Metroplex
Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) announced this week a $3 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant to
be opened in Richardson. Through a partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas, and its Erik
Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, the new plant is expected to employ 1000
workers with a positive economic ripple effect across the region, as well as boost UTD as a top tier
research institution.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place by then end of 2005 and will boast the world’s most
advanced semiconductors for wireless, broadband and digital consumer applications. The decision
to build in Richardson is a result of collaboration between TI, the State of Texas, the University of
Texas System and several local governmental, economic development and non-profit entities. Gov.
Perry has pledged $50 million in state funds for the project from the new Texas Enterprise Fund.

“I am a firm believer in public-private partnerships,” Shapiro said, “and I am pleased that we have
been able to come together and present such a great economic boon for our region and state. This
is a win-win situation.”


Feds Send Funds for Homeland Security
With the upcoming 4th of July holiday and experts warning against a Texas attack, the Department of
Homeland Security has distributed $84.2 million in grants to more than 700 local Texas governments
for anti-terrorism equipment and homeland security planning.


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"We do not underestimate the role that state and local governments play in protecting American
citizens against the threat of terrorism,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “The
Department of Homeland Security is pleased to be able to work with the states and localities to
enhance the capabilities of our nation's first responders."

The Texas Engineering Extension Service announced the following SD 8 entities and amounts:
   • Collin County         $396,550
   • Allen                 $235,013
   • Carrollton            $242,751
   • Dallas                $653,214
   • Farmers Branch        $267,500
   • Frisco                $258,236
   • McKinney              $329,422
   • Plano                 $445,709

Currently we are under an “elevated” threat level. This means there is a significant risk of terrorist
attacks. Every Texas family can take simple steps to help prepare for any type of emergency,
including a possible terrorist attack:
           • Develop a family safety plan
           • Assemble an emergency supply kit
           • Safeguard your neighborhood
You can help make your home, community and state safer. Be alert and aware of your surroundings
and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement. Learn basic first aid skills. Or volunteer to
assist your community's response efforts.


The Sound of Silence
Tired of those pesky telemarketers interrupting your dinner hour or beeping in on call-waiting during
an important phone call? Well, the deadline to sign up for Texas’ No Call List has passed but it’s not
too late to register on the national list. According to the Do Not Call Registry website, most
telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the National Do Not Call Registry. You
can register your home and mobile phone numbers for free and your registration will be effective for
five years. If you register before August 31, registration will become effective on October 1. If you
register after September 1, registration will take effect three months after you sign up. To register,
log on to www.donotcall.gov.


Get Online Instead of In Line
Texans may now renew their driver’s license online or over the telephone. To do so, you must meet
the following criteria, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Capitol Service:
           • Your license expires within one year of the current day’s date and has not been
              expired for more than two years.
           • Your last renewal was completed in person at a Texas driver’s license office
           • You do not currently hold a provisional driver’s license (all drivers 18 years old and
              under must renew in person
           • You currently hold a Class C or CM license
           • You have no change in your vision, physical or mental condition that would affect your
              ability to operate a motor vehicle
           • Your record indicated that you are eligible to renew online (no outstanding tickets or
              warrants)

Online renewal cost is $24 for a non-commercial driver's license, $32 for a motorcycle license, and
$15 for a State Identification Card, plus $1 convenience fee. Online and telephone renewals are
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valid for six y ears. Log on to www.txdps.state.tx.us and click on “Online Services” the “Driver
License Renewal.” For more information or questions, contact DPS Customer Service at 512/424-
2600.




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