SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS 
                             Monday, February 28, 2005 
                           2:00 p.m. or upon adjournment 
                           Capitol Extension, Room E1.016 
         Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule  
         11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Nominations  
         was held on Monday, February 28, 2005, in the Capitol Extension,  
         Room E1.016, at Austin, Texas. 
         MEMBERS PRESENT:                        MEMBERS ABSENT: 
         Senator Jon Lindsay                     None 
         Senator Bob Deuell 
         Senator Gonzalo Barrientos 
         Senator Kevin Eltife 
         Senator Mike Jackson 
         Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. 
         Senator Jane Nelson 
         The chair called the meeting to order at 2:36 p.m. There being a  
         quorum present, the following business was transacted: 
         The following members arrived after the roll was called: Senator  
         Barrientos at 2:36, Senator Eltife at 2:37 and Senator Lucio at  
         Senator Lindsay moved adoption of the minutes from the previous  
         hearing; without objection, it was so ordered.   
         Chairman Lindsay announced to the committee that, because of  
         time constraints, introductions of the appearing nominees by  
         their respective Senators would occur as the Senators were  
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Nelson for an introduction.  
         Senator Nelson introduced the Honorable Geraldine "Tincy"  
         Miller, chair of the State Board of Education since 2003.  
         Senator Nelson praised Mrs. Miller for her many years of public  
         service and dedication to the schoolchildren of Texas and  
         expressed wholehearted support for her reappointment as chair of  
         the Board. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Jeff Wentworth. Senator  
         Wentworth made introductory remarks about his constituent,  
         Gloria Ann "Gogi" Dickson Ph.D., who could not appear  
         because she had been subpoenaed for federal jury duty. Dr.  
         Dickson was reappointed to the Texas Youth Commission. Chairman  
         Lindsay announced to the committee that a letter from Dr.  
         Dickson had been distributed to the members explaining her  
         The Chair recognized Senator Kel Seliger who introduced two  
         constituents, Ernest Angelo, appointed to the Public Safety  
         Commission, and Constable Charles Hall, appointed to the  
         Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Ken Armbrister to introduce  
         Sheriff Mark Gilliam of Aransas County. Sheriff Gilliam was  
         appointed to the Commission on Jail Standards. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Juan Hinojosa to introduce  
         Public Safety Commission re-appointee Commissioner Colleen  
         The Chair recognized Senator Lucio who introduced his  
         constituent Carlos Cascos who was appointed to the Public Safety  
         Senator Hinojosa was again recognized by Chairman Lindsay to  
         comment on both Colleen McHugh and Carlos Cascos. 
         Chairman Lindsay announced that Senator Robert Duncan sent his  
         regrets at not being able to introduce his constituent and  
         reappointee to the Texas Youth Commission, Commissioner Don  
         Bethel. Senator Nelson was then recognized to introduce Mr.  
         Bethel. Nelson informed the committee that Senator Duncan told  
         her there was no one more qualified for the post than  
         Commissioner Bethel. 
         The Chair recognized Senator Troy Fraser who seconded the  
         nomination of Bethel. Fraser then introduced his two  
         constituents Betty Harper- Murphy and Stanley Egger. Ms.  
         Harper-Murphy was appointed to the Texas Commission on Law  
         Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, Egger was appointed  
         to the Commission on Jail Standards. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized the Honorable Geraldine "Tincy"  
         Miller, Chair of the State Board of Education. Mrs. Miller made  
         opening remarks about her background and her desire to do what  
         is in the best interest of all of the children in Texas. 
         Senator Nelson was recognized by Chairman Lindsay for questions.  
         Nelson asked Miller her thoughts concerning the rise in textbook  
         errors and possible solutions to the problem. Miller explained  
         that the panel selected to read textbooks used to consider it  
         quite an honor to read and check for factual errors but that a  
         change in the law directed them to check for factual errors by  
         only reading certain parts, not reading for content. Therefore,  
         there is no authority over content. 
         Senator Nelson asked her for her thoughts on doing away with  
         state adoption altogether and allowing individual school  
         districts to decide on their books. Miller stressed the  
         difficulty of catching errors and offered an example to the  
         committee of a textbook's account of the United States assault  
         on Omaha Beach during World War II and how the historical  
         significance of the event was compromised because of  
         discrepancies in the factual material presented. The Board  
         enlisted the help from five New York publishers to make the  
         corrections and preserve a true accounting of that important  
         occasion. Miller warned the committee that if the state loses  
         the ability to correct, we could lose a part of history. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Florence Shapiro to  
         introduce William Mahomes who was appointed to the Texas Youth  
         Commission. Senator Shapiro also made supportive remarks about  
         Commissioner Colleen McHugh. 
         The chair recognized Vice-Chairmen Deuell who commented briefly  
         about his tenure on the Greenville School Board. Vice-Chairman  
         Deuell offered Miller his wholehearted support. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Barrientos who commended  
         Miller. Barrientos made a request for the committee to leave  
         Miller's nomination pending for a short period of time so that  
         he, Senator Eliot Shapleigh, Senator Mario Gallegos and Senator  
         Lucio could meet with her. Barrientos said she would not need to  
         return to committee. Chairman Lindsay said Miller had upcoming  
         scheduling conflicts and asked Barrientos if they could meet  
         with her through phone conversations. The chair said he had no  
         problem with Barrientos' request. Chairman Lindsay did not have  
         any questions for Miller. Miller's nomination was left pending  
         by the committee. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized the panel of nominees to the  
         Commission on Jail Standards and invited them to the table. The  
         chair recognized Senator Barrientos to introduce Albert Black,  
         then Chairman Lindsay introduced his constituent Dr. Michael  
         Seale. Chairman Lindsay asked Dr. Seale about the issue of  
         mental health and HB 1's charge to study mechanisms for  
         evaluation and treatment. Dr. Seale replied that jail is now the  
         last resort for treatment because fewer community services are  
         available. Lindsay asked how many jails were experiencing  
         diffficulties; Sheriff Gilliam said he didn't know of any that  
         were not. 
         Senator Barrientos was recognized by the chair. Barrientos asked  
         Dr. Seale what he felt was the biggest challenge facing the  
         commission. Seale's reply was to provide proper standards.  
         Barrientos asked Seale to explain the ABCs of the commission.  
         Seale answered their charge is to make the rules, provide  
         standards and enforce them. Barrientos asked Albert Black for a  
         figure on the budget, Black replied he was not sure, he had just  
         received it today and had not had time to study it. Barrientos  
         requested that the Governor's office do a better job of  
         providing information to nominees. Black said their office had  
         provided him with a very nice packet. Barrientos asked Stanley  
         Egger if he felt that pay raises were needed. Egger commented  
         that the current backlog in jails created an urgency for regular  
         inspections done in a timely manner. Barrientos encouraged the  
         panel to advocate for their employees and to provide the Senate  
         Finance committee an accurate assessment of their needs  
         regarding pay and number of employees. 
         Senator Barrientos made a statement and asked them to comment if  
         they wanted. He asked them to not place non-violent criminals in  
         with violent ones, but instead keep and rehabilitate them  
         There being no quorum at 2:56 p.m., no vote was taken on the  
         nominees to the Commission on Jail Standards. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Ernest Angelo, Colleen McHugh and  
         Carlos Cascos of the Public Safety Commission. They each made a  
         few brief comments about how perceived their responsibilities as  
         a commissioner. Lindsay asked them what setting policy means to  
         them. Commissioner McHugh said it means setting priorities and  
         gave the following examples: the budget, homeland security and  
         anti-terrorism, attracting more commissioned and  
         non-commissioned personnel, increasing pay, narcotics  
         intervention and security of the state.  
         Chairman Lindsay asked McHugh about crime labs. McHugh replied  
         that we have 13 backlogged forensic labs all over the state and  
         need more FTEs to process them. 
         Senator Barrientos was recognized to question the panel. He  
         asked Commissioner Angelo to give him figures on the budget.  
         Angelo answered  $424 million plus, Commissioner Cascos added  
         that there are 7,000 FTEs. Barrientos asked McHugh if the Austin  
         Police Department paid better than the DPS and the answer was  
         yes. Commissioner McHugh publicly thanked Barrientos for his  
         support. Barrientos questioned them on communication problems  
         between DPS and local police linked to the use of different  
         frequencies, the narcotics trade and their handling of  
         non-documented illegal aliens. McHugh said that the DPS cannot  
         arrest a person solely on the basis of an illegal alien  
         status-that is up to the Federal government. Barrientos asked if  
         the feds were giving the DPS enough money to deal with the  
         non-documented; McHugh was unsure of the figure but said she  
         would provide it to the committee. 
         Senator Barrientos asked a question for Senator Lucio about the  
         retire-rehire program and its current policy of permitting  
         retired officers to reapply but come in at the lower end of the  
         salary scale. Commissioner McHugh answered that this policy may  
         expire in August of 2005; if so, it is up to the will of the  
         legislature. Barrientos asked Commissioner Angelo how many Texas  
         Rangers there are in Texas. Angelo said over 100 and Cascos  
         pinpointed the number at 117. 
         Senator Barrientos encouraged the commissioners to go out and  
         ride with the troopers to get a clear understanding of what  
         problems exist. 
         There being no quorum at 3:55 p.m., no vote was taken on the  
         nomination of Angelo, McHugh and Cascos to the Public Safety  
         The Chair recognized Senator Eltife to introduce Chief Gary  
         Swindle, nominee to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement  
         Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Swindle is a  
         constituent of Senator Todd Staples, however, Staples was unable  
         to introduce him because of a conflicting hearing. Senator  
         Eltife and Chief Swindle knew each other well, Eltife was the  
         mayor of Tyler while Chief Swindle was chief of police. Eltife  
         called hiring Swindle the best thing he did as mayor. 
         Chairman Lindsay introduced Romulo Chavez, also appointed to  
         TCLEOSE and a thirty year veteran of the Houston Police  
         Department. Constable Charles Hall and Mrs. Betty Harper-Murphy  
         joined Swindle and Chavez to answer questions. Chairman Lindsay  
         asked for brief comments. Swindle began with his foremost  
         concern-a lot of unfunded mandates which included training. He  
         informed the committee that TCLEOSE put their training out on  
         the internet. Hall and Harper-Murphy commented about their 11  
         months on the Commission as quite a learning experience. 
         Senator Lindsay recognized several witnesses who were registered  
         but not testifying. 
         There being no quorum at 4:03 p.m., no vote was taken. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Commissioners Don Bethel and William  
         Mahomes, nominees to the Texas Youth Commission, and asked for  
         comments on the drug problems facing the young people served by  
         the commission. Bethel said drugs were not the main issue-their  
         biggest concern is that 46% of the children in the Youth  
         Commission faced mental health problems. 
         There being no quorum at 4:09 p.m., no vote was taken. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked that the committee stand in recess until  
         a quorum was established. 
         A quorum was established at 4:30 p.m. Senator Eltife moved that  
         a vote be taken on the nominees to the Public Safety Commission.  
         The committee voted 7 ayes to 0 nays that they be confirmed and  
         recommended to the full Senate for confirmation. 
         Senator Eltife moved that the nominees to TCLEOSE be voted upon.  
         At 4:31 p.m., the committee voted by 7 ayes to 0 nays to  
         recommend the nominees to the full Senate for  confirmation. 
         A motion was made to vote on the nominees to the Commission on  
         Jail Standards. At 4:32 p.m. 
         Chairman Lindsay announced that the nominees to the Commission  
         on Jail Standards would be left pending in committee. 
         At 4:33 p.m., a motion was made to vote on the nominees to all  
         the non-appearing entities. The committee voted 7 ayes to 0 nays  
         to recommend  nominees from the following boards and commissions  
         to the full Senate for confirmation: the 234th Judicial District  
         Court, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Commission on State  
         Emergency Communications, the Office of Rural and County  
         Affairs, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and the Risk  
         Management Board for the State Office of Risk Management. 
         At 4:34 p.m., there being no more business, the Senate  
         Nominations committee recessed subject to the call of the chair. 
         Senator Jon Lindsay, Chair 
         Jazen Wood, Clerk