SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
11:00 a.m. or thirty 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, February 18, 2009, in the Senate Chamber.
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 1:00 p.m. There being a quorum present, the following business was transacted:
Sen. Shapleigh and Sen. Nichols arrived after the roll was called.
Chairman Jackson welcomed the members and presented the rules. Senator Watson moved adoption of the rules; there being no objection, the rules were adopted.
Chairman Jackson introduced the committee staff, Robert Haley and Brian Carey. Each committee member made an introduction of the staff person with whom he or she will be working.
Chairman Jackson informed the members about two documents found in the committee binders: one listing possible appearing entities and one listing possible non-appearing entities.
Chairman Jackson recognized Senator Wentworth to introduce Secretary of State Hope Andrade. Senator Wentworth briefly detailed the accomplishments of Hope Andrade, including her educational and employment history, along with her previous state service.
Chairman Jackson recognized Senator Carona to introduce John Field Scovell. Senator Carona briefly detailed John Scovell's resume and professional accomplishments.
Chairman Jackson recognized Senator Duncan to introduce Nancy Neal. Senator Duncan briefly detailed Nancy Neal's resume and professional accomplishments.
Chairman Jackson recognized Senator Seliger to introduce John Huffaker and Mickey Long. Senator Seliger detailed John Huffaker's resume and professional accomplishments. Senator Seliger also detailed the career of Mickey Long. Senator Seliger expressed his desire for the committee to act favorably upon both nominees.
Chairman Jackson recognized Hope Andrade to share her comments with the committee.
Andrade gave a brief account of her personal history, and expressed her pride she feels for her hometown of San Antonio. Andrade shared her vision of Texas as a dynamic state, with a growing population and economy. She also expressed her determination to protect the integrity of elections held in the state. Andrade spoke of her goal of increasing trade and foreign investment opportunities in the state.
Chairman Jackson questioned Andrade on potential procedural changes to the elections process, and how they would affect the operations of the office of the Secretary of State.
Andrade expressed her commitment to follow the will of the Legislature, noting that some changes in election procedures could incur extra costs in the administration of elections.
Chairman Jackson asked if Andrade envisioned a day where elections would be executed uniformly across the state. Andrade responded that election methods are decided by each county.
The chair recognized Senator Nelson to offer a congratulatory comment.
The chair recognized Senator Nichols to offer a congratulatory comment.
The chair recognized Senator Shapleigh to ask a question. Shapleigh inquired about the trade relationship between Texas and Mexico, and Anrade's role as the Border/Commerce Coordinator. Shapleigh asked Andrade to investigate how border operations can be improved to better facilitate trade between the state and Mexico.
Andrade expressed her desire to work with Shapleigh on this issue.
Senator Nichols moved that the committee vote to approve the nomination of Hope Andrade as Secretary of State. At 1:38 p.m., by a vote of 7 ayes and 0 nays, the committee voted to recommend Hope Andrade to the full Senate for confirmation.
Chairman Jackson introduced Teresa Spears who serves as Governor Perry's Director of Appointments.
Chairman Jackson called John Huffaker, Mickey Long, Nancy Neal, John Scovell, and Jerry Turner of the Texas Tech University System Board of regents to the table. Chairman Jackson announced that Rick Francis was unable to appear before the committee due to a scheduling conflict.
Chairman Jackson read an introduction for Jerry Turner written by and at the request of Senator Fraser.
The chair recognized the nominees for opening comments. All of the nominees offered opening comments to the committee.
Chairman Jackson asked the nominees to discuss the issues of rising tuition costs and the 10% admissions rule in Texas.
The nominees informed the committee of Texas Tech's prior action on tuition issues.
The nominees explained that about 20% of their freshman classes are admitted through the 10% rule. They acknowledged that the rule has helped their enrollment in some ways.
The chair recognized Senator Nelson to ask a question of Nancy Neal concerning the development and education of new nurses.
Neal responded that she believes greater funding for faculty positions will increase the number of new nurses introduced into the workforce.
The chair recognized Senator Watson to offer a comment.
The chair recognized Senator Hegar to offer a comment.
Senator Nelson moved that the committee vote to approve the nominations of Rick Francis, John Huffaker, Mickey Long, Nancy Neal, John Scovell, and Jerry Turner. At 2:12 p.m., by a vote of 5 ayes and 0 nays, the committee voted to recommend all of the nominees to the full Senate for confirmation.
Senator Watson moved that the committee vote on the non-appearing nominees to the following entities: Chief Administrative Law Judge, 344th Judicial District Attorney, 168th Judicial District Judge, 269th Judicial District Judge, 281st Judicial District Judge, 288th Judicial District Judge, 397th Judicial District Judge, 429th Judicial District Judge, Judicial Districts Board, 4th Court of Appeals Justice, 14th Court of Appeals Justice, On-Site Wastewater Treatment Research Council, Fourth Administrative Judicial Region Presiding Judge, Sixth Administrative Judicial Region Presiding Judge, Ninth Administrative Judicial Region Presiding Judge, Texas County and District Retirement System, Seed and Plant Board, Texas Small Business Industrial Development Corporation, Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the Veterans' Land Board. At 2:14 p.m., by a vote of 5 ayes and 0 nays the nominees were sent to the full Senate for confirmation.
There being no further business, at 2:14 p.m. Chairman Jackson moved that the Committee stand recessed subject to the call of the chair. Without objection, it was so ordered.
Senator Mike Jackson, Chair
Brian Carey, Clerk