SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
11:00 a.m. or upon adjournment
Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule 11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Nominations was held on Wednesday, April 4, 2007, in the Senate Chamber at Austin, Texas.
Senator Mike Jackson
Senator Kevin Eltife
Senator Glenn Hegar
Senator Jane Nelson
Senator Robert Nichols
Senator Eliot Shapleigh
Senator Kirk Watson
The chair called the meeting to order at 1:42 p.m. There being no quorum present, the following business was transacted:
Chairman Jackson announced that 35 nominees and 1 pending nominee were on the agenda for the meeting.
Chairman Jackson called Ivan Andarza, Frank Houston "Skip" Landis, Connie Sue Sitterly, and Phil Worley, nominees to the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, to the table. Chairman Jackson announced that Yvonne Batts was unable to appear before the committee due to a death in the family.
The chair recognized Senator Nelson to introduce her constituent, Connie Sue Sitterly, to the committee. Senator Nelson highly recommended Sitterly for confirmation by the committee.
The chair recognized Senator Zaffirini to introduce her constituent, Phil Worley, to the committee. Senator Zaffirini highly recommended Worley for confirmation.
Chairman Jackson read an introduction for Frank Landis written by Senator Ogden. The chair read an introduction for Ivan Andarza written by Senator Watson. Both Landis and Andarza were highly recommended for confirmation.
The chair recognized the nominees for opening comments. Sitterly, Worley, Landis, and Andarza briefly addressed the committee with opening comments.
The chair announced that Dr. Landis has been on the board for several months, while the other nominees are new appointees. The chair asked Landis several questions about the corporation. Landis told the committee that TG has guaranteed $4 billion in financial aid in the past year. Landis explained that the board of 11 members meets every two months at the headquarters in Round Rock. Most of the financial aid money comes from the federal government.
Jackson questioned Landis about the number of people who are responsible for processing applications. Landis said that TG has 600 employees so the process is quick and efficient.
The chair recognized Senator Nelson. Nelson asked the nominees how TG is funded. Landis replied that 99% of TG funding comes from the federal government and 1% comes from interest.
Chairman Jackson asked the nominees if it is their job to approve or deny loans. Landis said that the approval of loans is determined by federal law. TG is responsible for upper management decisions and long term activity.
The chair recognized Senator Nelson. Senator Nelson asked what TG does to ensure that it is not guaranteeing unusually risky loans. Landis replied that if a student qualifies for a loan by federal law, TG will guarantee that loan. Sitterly explained that schools determine eligibility, and that TG does not play a part in that determining process.
Nelson asked if there is some type of risk assessment or credit rating done. Andarza replied that, by definition, there is a risk with the loans because most students do not have a credit history. Part of the program is to try to get private lenders to give money.
The chair asked how TG advertises to students and lets them know that their services are available. Sitterly briefly explained the website, phone line, outreach programs, brochures, training, and speakers bureau. Worley suggested several ways to enhance TG outreach programs even more.
Chairman Jackson asked if there are different qualifications for different types of loans. Landis replied that decisions regarding the amount of money given are based on family income. Also, students who are seniors will typically receive more money than freshman students.
Chairman Jackson asked the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan. Landis replied that a subsidized loan is paid off after the student has graduated. With an unsubsidized loan, students begin to pay off interest while they are still in school.
A quorum was established at 2: 08 p.m., and the roll was called.
Senator Eltife moved that the nominations of Ivan Andarza, Yvonne Batts, Frank Houston "Skip" Landis, Connie Sue Sitterly, and Phil Worley be confirmed by the committee. At 2:09 p.m., by a vote of 4 ayes and 3 absent, the committee voted to recommend the nominees to the full Senate for confirmation.
Senator Nelson moved that the committee vote on the non-appearing nominees to the following entities: Advisory Board for Athletic Trainers, Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders, Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County, Upper Guadalupe River Authority, Judge of the 3rd Judicial District Court, Anderson/Henderson/Houston Counties, Judge of the 430th Judicial District Court, Hidalgo County, State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. At 2:10 p.m., by a vote of 4 ayes and 3 absent, the committee voted to recommend the nominees to the full Senate for confirmation.
Chairman Jackson told the members that the committee is over half way through the eligible nominees. The chair congratulated the members for their work.
There being no further business, at 2:13 p.m. Senator Jackson moved that the Committee stand recessed subject to the call of the chair. Without objection, it was so ordered.
Senator Mike Jackson, Chair
Katherine Chapman, Clerk