AUSTIN — Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst released his interim charges for the 81st Legislative Interim. Eighteen Senate committees and subcommittees received a list of subject areas to be studied during 2010. These committees must submit a report on these charges prior to the opening of the 2011 Legislative Session.
This year's charges feature nine recommendations submitted to the lieutenant governor by State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa. Hinojosa's submittals include investigating unregulated jails and detention centers in Texas, improving state laws that ensure a safe produce inspection process, and an analysis of property tax exemptions for affordable housing developers.
Senator Hinojosa remarked on his top recommendations that will be studied during this interim: Continued improvement of the state's DNA Crime Lab and a full assessment of how federal health care legislation will impact Texas' state health delivery systems.
"From the beginning, we knew an audit of our DNA Crime Lab's policies and methods would be a long-term project. I thank Governor Dewhurst for allowing us to continue improving the integrity of our forensic systems," Hinojosa said. "As to the issue regarding a federal health care bill, Texas must be prepared to adapt to any changes made to our health care delivery industry. Texans invest heavily in our health care services. Any changes currently under consideration in Congress should be analyzed and prepared for at the state level."
Last session, Senator Hinojosa passed a constitutional amendment authorizing coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to contribute state resources to improve access to health care for our veterans. Texans approved the amendment in November's ballot, and now the Veterans Affairs Committee will track the progress of proposing a new facility.
Senator Hinojosa spoke of the busy workload in store for legislators in preparation for the 2011 session.
"With these interim charges, we can begin to dig into the details of these issues. This will become the basis for many legislative proposals for next year."