Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security - 80th R.S. (2007)
- Evaluate the state's homeland security efforts and the state's recent $140 million investment in law enforcement to help secure the border and study and make recommendations to deter transnational and drug-related gang violence and crime, including the use of injunctions and any possible improvements to Chapter 125 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, relating to membership in street gangs.
- Study and make recommendations for the creation of a tamper-proof driver's license or photo ID that complies with the federal Real ID Act, including the implementation of the Secure Enhanced Drivers' License Program (SB 11 80th R.S.), by the Department of Pubic Safety and issue recommendations for improving and expanding the pilot program.
- Examine the roles and best practices among individuals, state and local governments, hospitals and other health care providers, and the insurance industry for disaster planning and first response efforts. Explore what changes are needed to better prepare for natural disasters to mitigate claims and losses. Include an assessment of the state's implementation of recent recommendations for evacuations, including movement of medically fragile populations. Study the level of preparedness among critical infrastructure entities in both the public and private sector, the effectiveness of state disaster relief policies relating to this infrastructure and the sufficiency of personnel needed to restore this infrastructure. Assess the state's preparedness to handle a public health emergency. Examine the challenges of interoperability of communications technologies to improve coordination of different plans across jurisdictions
- Study and make recommendations regarding state and local regulation of billboards. Produce a graphical analysis of current billboards, evaluate objective criteria for locations where billboards can be permitted or prohibited, including but not limited to geographical (corridor or urban/rural), land usage (e.g. industrial), or cultural/historical criteria, and include consideration of the impact on any federal funding.
- Study and make recommendations for improving management and oversight of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Include a review of populations served, MPO governance, oversight, roles, variation among MPOs, and MPO decision-making ability in relation to TxDOT or other agencies.
- Study Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) and make recommendations to ensure the maximum benefit to taxpayers. Study the implications of requiring CDAs to have definitive buyback formulas that can be calculated without using any form of future revenue forecasts. Study requiring potential CDA projects to be solicited only after environmental clearance has been granted. Study the implications of shortening CDA's maximum allowable contract duration. Study provisions affecting competing facilities.
- Review the status of structurally deficient bridges and provide increased oversight of TxDOT's bridge repair activities to ensure that any unsafe bridges are identified and repaired as soon as possible.
- Study and make recommendations relating to the status of current and planned toll road projects in Texas, the use of public-private partnerships to build new roads and/or transit services, and the market valuation process. Analyze the impact of lengthening the number of years a toll road authority may issue bonds.
- Study the effectiveness of the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) and make recommendations for its future role in providing additional roads in Texas. Provide specific recommendations relating to public input in the development of the TTC.
- Study the impact of prohibitions in Section 2301.476 (Manufacturer or Distributor Ownership, Operation, or Control of Dealership), Occupations Code, on the sale of buses in Texas and make recommendations. Gather information and monitor the methods of sale of buses in other states and the dealership network, if any. Evaluate the need and possible benefits or detriments caused to public and private sector in application of this law and rule to the bus industry.
- Study the issue and amount of state agency expenditures on media activities and the legal authority for such expenditures. Develop recommendations for guidelines to ensure appropriate use of state funds to provide legitimate public education.
- Monitor urban crime laboratories and their compliance with state laws regulating their functions and make recommendations to restore public trust in their functions and to ensure full compliance with federal Homeland Security reporting requirements. Specifically, review the report issued by the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room, the independent panel review of certain criminal convictions prompted by the conclusions of this report, and the implementation by the City of Houston of any reforms recommended in this report.
- Study and review state and local options for expanding transportation funding and explore options to reduce diversions of Fund 6 revenue.(Joint charge with Senate Finance Committee)
- Study and make recommendations relating to whether the Texas Department of Transportation is in compliance with Transportation Code §201.109, Revenue Enhancement, and whether the Texas Department of Transportation is using the funding sources provided by the Legislature, including, but not limited to, General Obligation, Fund 6 and Mobility Fund bonds, to build new roads. (Joint charge with Senate Finance Committee)
- Study and make recommendations to stem the tide of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and human smuggling, and to reduce the criminal activities within the Border region. (Joint charge with Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade)
- Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Transportation & Homeland Security Committee, 80th R.S., and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, report on implementation of SB 792 80th R.S., and SB 1723 80th R.S., to improve the overall collection rate and compliance rate with the Driver Responsibility Program.
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