SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS 
                               Monday, April 18, 2005 
                                     2:00 p.m. 
                           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, April 18, 2005, in the Capitol Extension,  
         Room E1.016, at Austin, Texas. 
         MEMBERS PRESENT:                        MEMBERS ABSENT: 
         Senator Jon Lindsay                     Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. 
         Senator Bob Deuell 
         Senator Gonzalo Barrientos 
         Senator Kevin Eltife 
         Senator Mike Jackson 
         Senator Jane Nelson 
         The chair called the meeting to order at 3:38 p.m.  There being  
         a quorum present, the following business was transacted:   
         Senator Nelson moved adoption of the minutes from the previous  
         hearings held on April 11, 2005, and April 12, 2005; without  
         objection, it was so ordered.   
         Chairman Lindsay explained the process of introductions, then  
         recognized Senator Kel Seliger to introduce his constituents,  
         Charles Aycock, nominee to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and  
         Ed Culver, nominee to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Barrientos to introduce  
         Brian Glenn Flood, nominee to the Office of Inspector General  
         for Health and Human Services. Barrientos said that Flood has a  
         background unusually suited for this job and recommended  
         approval of his nomination. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked Flood exactly what he does as Inspector  
         General. Flood replied that he looks for waste and abuse within  
         the agency. Senator Jackson was recognized by the chair. Jackson  
         mentioned a bill by Senator Todd Staples in Government  
         Organization which would create nine more Inspector General  
         positions, and asked Flood to provide Chairman Lindsay with   
         performance figures so far. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Barrientos who asked Flood  
         if he ever performed investigations for Child Protective  
         Services (CPS), the answer was no,that CPS is not within the  
         scope of his office. Flood did say that investigations of fraud  
         within the Medicare system were  within his jurisdiction and  
         gave monetary amounts involved in these investigations. Senator  
         Barrientos announced he was looking for a balance, and that if  
         administrators running the agency tell him that recipients are  
         at fault, Barrientos wants proof. He also wants proof if he  
         hears that providers are at fault, warning that, when all the  
         fa ade and rhetoric are gone away, he suspects that the big  
         guys are the culprits.  
         Chairman Lindsay asked for a motion, Barrientos so moved. At  
         3:50 p.m., the committee voted by 6 ayes, 0 nays, and 1 absent  
         to recommend Brian Flood to the full Senate for confirmation. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Jackson to introduce Bobby Lopez,  
         nominee to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission  and Linda  
         Garcia, who is being reappointed to the Board of Pardons and  
         Paroles. Jackson spoke favorably on the nomination of both  
         constituents before he was excused from the committee. 
         Chairman Deuell was recognized by the chair to introduce his  
         constituent Judge Cheryl Shannon who was nominated to the Texas  
         Juvenile Probation Commission. Chairman Lindsay asked Judge  
         Shannon to refresh his memory on the number of members of the  
         commission and their scope of responsibilities. Judge Shannon  
         said there were nine on the commission with three other member's  
         terms up this year. Lindsay asked if only a juvenile judge could  
         serve or could any district judge, Judge Shannon relied that any  
         district judge qualified for consideration. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Barrientos who asked the panel  
         several questions-Judge Shannon told the committee that their  
         budget was $131 million/year or $262 million/ biennium, Lopez  
         said their number of employees on staff is 62, Culver described  
         their mandate as being to set and review policy, rules and  
         regulations. Culver identified the main problem causing the  
         rising epidemic of juvenile offenses as the lack of  
         accountability at the county level and that to solve this  
         problem it will take a lot of work, not only at the legislative  
         level, but also at the juvenile probation district and local  
         school district levels.  
         Barrientos quizzed the panel on the current ethnic breakdown.  
         Judge Shannon answered that the referral breakdown is 24%  
         African-American, 45% Hispanic and 30% Anglo, with 28% female  
         and 72% male. Lopez noted a drop of 5% since 1995-2003. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Todd Staples who introduced  
         Jackie deNoyelles, nominated to the Board of Pardons and  
         Barrientos commended the Juvenile probation panel then asked for  
         their opinions on whether or not juvenile offenses were on the  
         increase and why. Judge Shannon addressed this question by  
         saying that although every generation is different, she  
         personally attributes it to a complete failure in parenting.  
         Parents are not minding the store and not paying attention. This  
         is a phenomenom that is across the board culturally and  
         socioeconomically. Lopez echoed Judge  
         Shannon saying that detachments have taken place and that it is  
         important to re-establish the bonds between parent and child.  
         Culver stated that from first-hand knowledge by being the  
         husband of an elementary school teacher, he feels that we are  
         teaching the young that they are not accountable for their  
         Chairman Lindsay asked the nominees to refresh his memory  
         regarding the different jurisdictions. Judge Shannon said that  
         they formed a partnership and an interface with local providers. 
         Chairman Lindsay announced that there was no quorum to vote on  
         the nominees to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. 
         The chair asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles members to step  
         forward. Chairman Lindsay announced that, in lieu of Senator  
         Steve Ogden, he had the pleasure of introducing the three  
         members that had not previously been introduced; Juanita Maria  
         Gonzalez, Elvis Hightower and Board chair Rissie Owens. The  
         chair asked Owens to describe their responsibilities and her  
         reply was that they, as a body, decide upon release, revocation  
         and clemency granted to prisoners for the Governor. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Barrientos who yielded to  
         Senator Rodney Ellis. Ellis asked how much the position paid and  
         whether it was full-time. Ellis told the board that, since they  
         made the ultimate decision on whether someone should live or  
         die, they ought to meet in person instead of videoconferencing  
         making reference to Owen's suggestion that videoconferencing  
         would save money. Ellis asked if they were comfortable faxing in  
         a decision on life or death and what their review process  
         entailed. He also informed the committee that Texas is the only  
         state where this happens, all others have a meeting. 
         Vice-chairman Deuell was recognized for a question. Deuell asked  
         the board who they called in for legal advice. Owens said that,  
         as a rule, they call in their general counsel, but as far as she  
         knew, they were not prohibited from looking outside for counsel.  
         Garcia added that nothing prohibits them from talking to each  
         other during the process. Gonzalez said she would adhere to the  
         will of the legislature. Aliseda reminded the committee that the  
         jury makes the life or death decision, not them.  
         Chairman Lindsey recognized Ellis who told the committee that  
         the only way the Governor grants a reprieve is if the board  
         recommends it. Ellis gave history of when he was acting Governor  
         for a Day and a call he made to then Governor Bush to tell him  
         that he would not go forward with a scheduled execution. Aliseda  
         stated that they do not try the facts, they do not receive trial  
         transcripts and if they did, it would require a much longer  
         period of time to do their work. He also discussed executive  
         sessions and said he would do whatever the people of Texas  
         expect. Hightower echoed that he would do whatever the  
         legislature directs. Aycock added that they keep continuous  
         files of the cases, including complete psychological evaluations  
         of the prisoner and all the victims' input. He told the  
         committee that they meet individually with an inmate at the  
         inmate's request and that these are meetings where no rules are  
         involved and they are immediately transcribed. 
         Owens stated that, on the issue of videoconferencing, the  
         process was in place, they could communicate and they have legal  
         counsel but that they would change it if the legislature sees  
         Ellis mentioned another case involving exoneration by the court  
         which requires three writings for a pardoning and asked if this  
         policy has changed. Owens replied that the rule now states that  
         two out of three writings are required. Ellis asked if any other  
         states in the country require two out of three writings, and  
         told her he hoped she would find out. 
         Ellis announced that he was sincere about this issue that it was  
         not politics because this was not a voting crowd. 
         Chairman Lindsay referenced Lucio's bill that did away with  
         probation for life and asked Owens how this affected them; Owens  
         stated that it will probably decrease the number of individuals  
         the Pardons and Parole Board deals with since they see only the  
         inmates that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)  
         deems eligible for parole. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Barrientos who asked what percentage  
         of paroles granted in last fiscal year were granted to  
         recidivists. Owens said she could get that number for him.  
         Aliseda said within the last three years the number was 28%.  
         Barrientos asked them to provide his office with figures.  
         Barrientos questioned the members about their specific workload  
         and how many assistants they had to help. He asked for the steps  
         in revocations, what is meant by an administrative violation and  
         whether or not the prison overcrowding or publicity about prison  
         overcrowding ever affected their vote. Barrientos also asked  
         about how burnout affected them then encouraged them to not be  
         too hard and not be too easy. 
         Vice-chairman Deuell informed the committee that Chairman  
         Lindsay had to leave to attend a committee chairman's meeting  
         with the Lt. Governor. He told the board members of both the  
         Juvenile Probation Commission and the Board of Pardons and  
         Paroles that he appreciated their service and announced that,  
         because there was not a quorum present, the committee would vote  
         on their nominations at Chairman Lindsay's desk after the Senate  
         adjourned on the following day.  
         There being no further business, at 5:05 p.m. Senator Deuell  
         moved that the Committee stand recessed subject to the call of  
         the chair.  Without objection, it was so ordered.   
         Senator Jon Lindsay, Chair 
         Jazen Wood, Clerk