From the DSN Newswire (State Senator Royce West’s Office)
The Texas Senate’s Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) will meet in Dallas, Thursday – May 13, 2010, at Dallas City Hall. The committee is chaired by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas). Thursday’s hearing is the fourth of the interim for the committee that monitors housing issues and matters related to city and county government. The hearing convenes at 10:00 a.m. and will be held in the 6th floor Dallas City Council Chamber.
“Most persons outside government circles equate everything connected to state government with happening in Austin,” said Senator West. “For the most part that’s true, but all legislative committees whether Senate or House, are obligated to conduct hearings in local communities. This allows interested citizens and stakeholders from across the state their chance to have input on issues that impact them locally.”
The Texas Legislature meets for 140 days every other year. During the year when the legislature does not meet, the lieutenant governor assigns committees with charges (issues) to be studied in preparation for the next legislative session.
These interim charges are explored by the respective committees and a report on their findings is submitted prior to the beginning of the next session. Included in this year’s charges for IGR is an examination on how federal stimulus money issued to Texas in 2009 was used by the Texas Department on Housing and Community Affairs.
“Of the $12 billion in stimulus funds Texas used to balance its budget last session, $1 billion went to the state’s housing department; $327 million to be used on weatherization programs,” said Senator West. “Those funds were slow to hit the streets in local communities and at this point, we need to determine just how much progress has been made in using the money that was purposed to assist Texas homeowners.”
Testimony is also invited on the committee’s charge to evaluate the deployment and use of online technology by local governments. With states, counties, cities and school districts facing funding crises, another charge will examine the costs that can be saved by consolidation.
The Senate IGR Committee last met in Dallas in March 2008. The meeting is open to the public. Senator West welcomes those interested in gaining insight and lending input regarding state government to attend.