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Senate Committee on Business and Commerce - 79th R.S. (2005)

Committee Members
Troy Fraser, Chair
Kip Averitt, Vice Chair
Kyle L. Janek, Vice Chair
Ken Armbrister
Kim Brimer
John Carona
Kevin Eltife
Craig Estes
Eddie Lucio
Leticia Van de Putte
Charges
• Monitor the implementation of SB 5, 79th Legislature, 2nd Called Session, with particular attention to the following issues and make recommendations for any legislation needed to complete implementation. Include an analysis of the following:

  • the impact of the state-issued certificate of franchise authority on competition in the cable and video services market as well as the impact on local governments, including an analysis of compensation paid to governmental entities, availability of products to customers, and the way in which utility relocation costs are apportioned in public right-of-ways;

  • investment in infrastructure by new video service providers and the impact on the state's economy;

  • the impact of the emergence of Broadband Over Powerlines (BPL) on the broadband and competitive electric market as well as the impact on other technologies;

  • the impact of deregulation on customer switching to competitors and on telephone rates;

  • the ongoing study of the Universal Service Fund by the Public Utility Commission;

  • the adequacy of basic telephone rates;

  • the impact of the emergence of Voice Over Internet Protocol as a means of competition;

  • the interaction at the wholesale level between ILECs and market competitors, particularly with respect to the exchange of telephone traffic and information; and

  • ongoing rulemaking projects at the PUC and the federal level, particularly with respect to the development of market tests and state-issued certificates of franchise authority for video services.
• Review current activities in the consumer finance arena, including but not limited to home equity lending, predatory lending, mortgage fraud, credit scoring, payday lending, and pre-need funeral contracts, and make recommendations for improving services to consumers and options for financial service providers.
• Study and make recommendations on improving the on-going implementation of SB 7, 76th Legislature, Regular Session, with particular emphasis on evaluation of the following:

  • adequacy and effectiveness of Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) as well as implementation of Sunset recommendations at ERCOT;

  • cost-effectiveness and fairness of congestion management mechanisms; and

  • the adequacy of generation capacity in this state.
• Review and evaluate information regarding alternative forms of rate regulation for electric utilities, focusing on alternatives offered in other states. Make recommendations to improve cost-effectiveness, support a competitive retail market in Texas, take advantage of technological advances, and enhance customer choice and satisfaction.
• Examine overall feasibility and capacity for alternative forms of electricity generation in Texas. Study potential funding sources and logistical issues associated with developing clean coal, biomass, and next-generation nuclear electricity generation.
• Review and study the permissibility of rental car companies to sell used rental motor vehicles on credit union premises and other locations not continuously used for the conduct of used rental motor vehicle sales. Analyze comparative laws from other states.
• Study and make recommendations relating to the relocation of utilities from state owned right-of-way, including an assessment of the costs of relocations, possible funding sources and methods to decrease delays associated with relocation. Joint Charge with Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee.

Note:
Kyle Janek appointed and named Vice Chair, 02/03/2006.
Kip Averitt removed as Vice Chair, 02/03/2006
John Carona removed from committee 02/03/2006,

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