SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS 
                               Monday, April 25, 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, April 25, 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 3:35 p.m. There being  
         no quorum present, the following business was transacted:   
         The following members arrived after the roll was called: Senator  
         Barrientos, Senator Jackson, Senator Lucio. 
         Chairman Lindsay announced that introductions would be made as  
         the Senators' schedules allowed and informed the committee that  
         two of the nominees to the Texas State Board of Medical  
         Examiners, Christine Canterbury, M.D. and Amanullah Khan,  
         M.D.,PhD. would not be appearing and that their letters of  
         explanation were in the member's binders. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Todd Staples to introduce  
         his constituent Keith Miller, a nominee to the Texas State Board  
         of Medical Examiners. Staples commended Miller on his unique and  
         dynamic perspective. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Tommy Williams who  
         introduced Melinda Fredricks, nominee to the Texas State Board  
         of Medical Examiners. Fredericks is a Conroe resident with  
         countless hours of volunteer work and a masters degree in  
         Chairman Lindsay introduced Annette Raggette since Senator Ogden  
         could not attend. Raggette gave a few comments about her  
         education and background, saying she is an attorney specializing  
         in labor relations for hospitals and nursing homes. 
         Senator Troy Fraser was recognized to introduce Dr. Larry Price,  
         associate professor at A & M Health and Sciences Center, and  
         senior cardiologist at Scott and White Hospital in Belton. 
         Chairman Lindsay introduced Tim Turner, nominee to the Texas  
         State Board of Medical Examiners and a constituent of Senator  
         Kyle Janek. 
         Chairman Lindsay invited the Texas State Board of Medical  
         Examiners nominees to the table and asked them if the passage of  
         SB 104 was producing any positive results and how it was  
         working. Larry Price said SB 104 helped in funding which  
         intensified disciplinary actions and helped improve efficiency.  
         Fredericks replied that she does not have a sense of history,  
         but conversations with staff convinced her that the board was  
         more effective now. Turner called the changes dramatic and  
         thanked the committee members for SB 104 funding. Raggette told  
         the members that SB 104 increased accountability and  
         enforcement. Miller informed the committee that he had been a  
         consultant to the board for a dozen years before serving and  
         brought up an example of a distressful case in which he had made  
         one negative remark and the opposing lawyer said he was too hard  
         on doctors. He told the committee they should be very confident  
         in this board. Anderson said SB 104 helped them with  
         investigation, litigation and enforcing compliance. They also  
         have different drug testing abilities for fulltime employees.  
         Anderson stressed that compliance is now within 180 days of  
         The Chair recognized Vice-Chair Deuell who asked about  
         restrictions and suspensions. Anderson said that most are  
         substance abuse cases. Chairman Lindsay asked how many  
         complaints per month. Anderson quoted the monthly figure at 500  
         with 6000 cases per year, and of these 6000, about 2000 are  
         valid. Raggette added that there has been a large growth of  
         complaints. Chairman Lindsay asked them to describe the process  
         and the entire team explained the steps involved in handling a  
         complaint. He also asked them at what point the public was made  
         aware. Anderson told the members that the need- to- know  
         entities, such as insurance companies and hospitals, are given  
         the information. 
         The chair recognized Barrientos who held up some newspapers  
         featuring articles concerning doctors who practice even after  
         disciplinary actions are taken against them. Anderson said that  
         the board's responsibility to decide if doctors practice at all  
         or with restrictions, and then make those findings known to the  
         public. He continued, saying that it is up to a hospital or  
         other employers to check credentials and make the decision  
         whether or not to hire the doctors. Barrientos asked the board  
         if they felt like it is their responsibility to keep eye on the  
         restricted doctors; Fredericks replied that a lot of doctors are  
         under board order and tracked by the compliance board, Turner  
         said the board could always do more. He also told the panel that  
         a hospital would be inclined to hire a doctor under board order  
         if they needed one with a certain specialty. 
         Barrientos again referenced the newspaper article and asked that  
         they keep up on the issue telling them that the body has  
         problems. Anderson said that currently there are 502 doctors  
         under board orders and practicing under supervision. Barrientos  
         again picked up one of the articles and read about a doctor in  
         Pasadena being sued 60 times; the nominees all said that they  
         were familiar with the case, that it involved the largest finer  
         ever levied against a doctor and that the doctor will never work  
         again in Texas. Anderson informed the committee that SB 104 was  
         not in effect when that doctor's case was handled and Raggette  
         said that there has been an improvement in the number of orders  
         since the implementation of SB 104. 
          A quorum was established at 4:15 p.m. Roll was called and the  
         minutes from the previous meetings were adopted. 
         Senator Eltife moved that a vote be taken on the nominees to the  
         Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. At 4:16 p. m., the  
         committee voted by 7 ayes, 0 nays to recommend them to the full  
         Senate for confirmation. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked the nominees to the Texas State  
         Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors to come  
         forward.  The chair informed the committee that two of the  
         nominees, Christopher DeCluitt and Jo Van Hovel had been excused  
         from appearing and that letters of explanation were submitted in  
         their binders. Chairman Lindsay introduced Thomas Leeper in lieu  
         of Senator Ogden and Charles Rencher and Jerry Romero introduced  
         themselves. Lindsay recognized Romero as chairman of the board  
         and asked him to provide an overview of the entity. Romero said  
         they serve mainly rural and border markets but can also answer  
         to the needs of some urban markets. He told the members that  
         they receive no federal grants but are funded by program fees.  
         Chairman Lindsay asked how the state agency entertwined with  
         local entities, Romero named the 501 3C bond issue as an example  
         of good partnership between local and state. Chairman Lindsay  
         asked if they really needed the position statement that they  
         requested in letter form from Senators and representative'  
         offices, Romero replied that if they see an elected official is  
         behind it then it shows that the community is also in favor. 
         Senator Barrientos moved to vote on the nominees to the Texas  
         State Affordable Housing Corporation Board of Directors and at  
         4:25 p.m., the committee voted by 7 ayes, 0 nays to recommend  
         the nominees to the full Senate for confirmation. 
         The chair recognized the appointee for the Adjutant General of  
         Texas, Brigadier General Charles Rodriguez, to make a few brief  
         comments about himself and to answer a few questions. General  
         Rodriguez described the dual status of his position: he is a  
         full-time employee of the state of Texas overseeing around 600  
         state employees, as well as the Commander of the Army and  
         National Guard in Texas supervising around 19,000 enlisted  
         soldiers plus the uniformed officers. He added that, outside of  
         Texas, his position is federally recognized. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked General Rodriguez if it was tough to  
         recruit and he answered that it was not difficult in Texas. He  
         named their biggest challenge as taking care of the families.  
         When asked in what area of study he earned his Ph.D., Rodriguez  
         quipped "Philanthropic Leadership". 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Barrientos who asked Rodriguez to  
         identify their current needs. Rodriguez said they are more  
         concerned with potential needs and analyzing hypothetical 
          "What would it take?" scenarios, all of which indicate the  
         necessity of monetary aid totaling many millions of dollars.  
         Barrientos asked if the Guard had border protection  
         responsibilities, Rodriguez answered that most would center  
         around counter-drug and aviation surveillance at the request of  
         law enforcement. Law enforcement does not have the technical  
         capability for the type of aerial surveillance that the Guard  
         can provide. Rodriguez told the committee that there are  
         armories but no troops deployed along the Texas- Mexico border. 
         General Rodriguez was asked to provide ethnic and gender  
         breakdowns, recruitment goals and the number of soldiers who  
         were wounded in action or killed while serving in the Texas  
         guard. Out of the 19,000 soldiers in Texas guard, 15 % are  
         female. Of the remaining males, 50 % are non-hispanic/ white,  
         20% are Hispanic and 11 % are African-American.  He added that  
         the guard is offering attractive incentives to enlist 4,000 per  
         year, which is their recruitment goal, and that the number of  
         applicants has increased since 911 with last year being t he  
         best ever. He listed seven soldiers as wounded in action (WIA)  
         and one as a combat death. 
         Barrientos yielded to Senator Lucio who commented that General  
         Rodriguez was replacing one of his very dear friends. Lucio  
         added that he has always been very interested in the state guard  
         and its' plans for the future. 
         Barrientos asked questions about family access to health care  
         and the healthcare system in general. General Rodriguez assured  
         the committee that after the preparation of the troops, taking  
         care of the families was their highest priority. He described  
         the infrastructure of family support including the regional and  
         national parameters. Barrientos asked for a breakdown of the top  
         officers, General Rodriguez did not have it but said he would  
         provide it to the committee. Barrientos asked him how he got his  
         nomination to West Point and General Rodriguez stated that his  
         father Joseph Rodriguez was awarded the Congressional Medal of  
         Senator Eltife moved that the committee vote on General  
         Rodriguez' nomination for Adjutant General of Texas. At 4: 50  
         p.m., by a vote of 7 ayes and 0 nays, General Rodriguez was  
         recommended to the full Senate for confirmation. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Vice-Chairman Deuell who introduced  
         the Honorable George W. "Bill" Ceverha, the Speaker's appointee  
         to the Employees Retirement System Board of Directors. 
         Ceverha told the committee that the board is a mentally  
         stimulating one that oversees 275 employees while managing a $20  
         billion fund and large healthcare system. Vice-Chairman Deuell  
         asked where the system is financially. Ceverha said it is 97%  
         fully funded, adding that if the legislature had not declined to  
         put in its normal share, it would be 100% funded. Ceverha  
         stressed that the board takes a very conservative fiscal  
         approach. Commenting on the heathcare 
         system, Ceverha said there will be a slight increase in cost of  
         dependent coverage. Commenting on Merck/ Medco's trouble that  
         has put them on the radar screen, he told the committee that  
         cost containments and rebates are pretty controlled.  
         Vice-Chairman Deuell called Ceverha a class act and commended  
         him on his service. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Barrientos who asked Ceverha if he  
         supported the current level of the system. The answer was yes he  
         was satisfied with the current level. Barrientos asked if he was  
         satisfied with the cost of heathcare.  Ceverha said he would  
         love to be able to provide it for free and is working to contain  
         costs, but reminded the committee that the board will have to  
         increase dependent coverage. Ceverha commented on whether it was  
         appropriate for the legislature to decrease its return saying  
         there is a moral and legal contract for both sides. Barrientos  
         asked about the ERS Trust Fund. Ceverha said there is a good  
         balance, that maybe they could realize more return if they  
         invested in higher risk ventures but they are taking a very  
         conservative approach. 
         Barrientos asked Ceverha if it is appropriate for an appointee  
         to serve on a board while soliciting money for a PAC. Ceverha's  
         reply was that situation has not occurred. 
         At 5:05 p.m., Chairman Lindsay announced that the nomination of  
         the Honorable George W. "Bill" Ceverha to the Employees  
         Retirement System Board of Directors would be left pending in  
         today's committee and voted out on the following day at his desk  
         in the Senate Chamber upon adjournment. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked for a motion on all the nominees to the  
         non -appearing entities. Senator Jackson moved that the  
         committee vote on all said nominees. At 5:05 p.m., by a vote of  
         7 ayes, 0 nays, the committee recommended all nominees to the  
         following entities be sent to the full Senate for confirmation:  
         the Finance Commission of Texas, the Manufactured Housing Board,  
         the Texas Public Finance Authority, the Sabine River Compact  
         Administration, the State Office of Risk Management and the  
         Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors. 
         There being no further business, at 5:06 p.m., Senator Lindsay  
         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