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Senate Committee on Business and Commerce - 80th R.S. (2007)

Committee Members
Troy Fraser, Chair
Chris Harris, Vice Chair
Kip Averitt
Kevin Eltife
Craig Estes
Kyle L. Janek
Eddie Lucio
Leticia Van de Putte
Kirk Watson
Charges
• Study the current governance structure of electric cooperatives. Make recommendations for any legislative changes required to adequately protect customers, increase reliability, and respond to consumer complaints.
• Study the current investment in generation and transmission in the Texas electricity market with emphasis on ensuring there will be sufficient generation and cost-effective transmission to meet Texas' growing demand for electricity. Review and make recommendations relating to adoption of smart-metering programs, and the anticipated cost savings to consumers. Analyze options for cost-effective alternative energy production, including solar and biomass electricity generation. Study and make recommendations on options for encouraging residential and small commercial consumers to switch electric products or providers. Review efforts at the federal level to implement legislation or rules that could impact the Texas electricity market.
• Study current industry practice and regulation associated with the siting of wind turbines. Compare the wind turbine siting process to processes associated with other forms of electric generation and the siting of facilities in other industries. Determine the advantages and disadvantages of additional siting regulation for wind turbines.
• Study the advantages and disadvantages of developing a building code specific to coastal properties in order to mitigate hurricane damage. Focus on avoiding catastrophic losses of property during a major storm. Specifically, consider Florida's building code, which applies to the designation of Enhanced Hurricane Protection Areas (EHPAs) that meet specific criteria to provide shelter and protection for up to eight hours following a catastrophic event.
• Examine statutory changes needed to maintain affordable and available homeowner’s insurance and industry reinsurance following a natural disaster in Texas. Estimate the potential impact on the Texas insurance market.
• Study the number of state business licenses and the need and cost for each license. Estimate the cost and benefits to consumers of licenses and impact on small, start-up businesses.
• Study and examine whether Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) should be adhered to under Chapter 66 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA), and review procedures for revenue audits.
• Study and make recommendations on improving the implementation of HB 1196, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, to ensure that public funds are not used to encourage illegal immigration into the state by prohibiting any taxpayer-subsidized job creation grant or tax abatement given to any business entity in Texas that knowingly hires illegal immigrants.
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Business and Commerce Committee, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation.

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