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State Senate Transportation Committee!
Now to take place Monday, March 30
Update: What’s happening now.
The 2009 Safe Passing Bill, Committee Substitute Senate Bill 488 will be heard by the Texas State Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. in Hearing Room E1.016 in the Capitol Extension. If you’re in the Austin area, please plan to attend!
Hearing AttendeesLast Tuesday, March 24, we attended the House Transportation Committee hearing on the bill. Those testifying included tow truck operators who would be protected by the bill, Mike Emmons from Plano on behalf of his friend the late Anthony Mungioli, and Robin Stallings, BikeTexas Executive Director. A representative of Austin Police Chief planned to testify but was not able to wait – originally slated for 8:00 a.m., the Committee didn’t hear the bill until noon!
Committee members asked some tough questions but ultimately seemed satisfied by the answers they received. As per usual practice, the bill is now pending and should come to a vote within a few weeks. If you are a constituent (find out here) of one of the following representatives, please call and ask that they vote YES for CSHB 827:
Rep. Larry Phillips, (Vice-Chair) R- Fannin, Grayson, Dist. 62
Rep. Bill Callegari, R- Harris, Dist. 132
Rep. Tommy Merritt, R- Longview, Dist. 7
What you can do for Monday’s hearing.
Below are the Senators on the Transportation Committee, with their party affiliation and general district areas, who are not confirmed as supporting the bill. If you live in the district of an “unconfirmed” Senator, please call or email the office to request that he or she support CSSB 488!
Unconfirmed on Support for CSSB 488
Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, Dist. 3
Joan Huffman, R-Houston, Dist. 17
Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, Dist. 8
Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, Dist. 25
- If you are represented by a State Senator who serves on the Transportation Committee, please call or email your Senator to ask for their “Yes” vote. If they already support CSSB 488, thank them. If they are unconfirmed on CSSB 488, urge them to vote “Yes”. Communication should be direct and frank but should always be respectful. If you are not a constituent of any of these Senators, please do not contact their offices because it creates additional unnecessary staff work. They naturally place much higher value on contact from constituents.
- If you live in the Austin area or can easily travel to Austin, come to the hearing at 8:00 a.m. (More details are below.) Please wear business attire including coat and tie for men. Even if you do not have a Senator on the committee who represents you, your presence is very important. RSVP to Mark Stine at email@example.com or 512-476-7433 is appreciated. We also appreciate cc’s or forwards to Mark of email communication sent to and received by you from your Senator.
- If your State Senator is not on the Transportation Committee, please do not contact them yet. Your communication will be much more effective once the Safe Passing Bill has its language finalized, passes the Transportation Committee and goes to the full Senate. BikeTexas will keep you updated.
Please attend the hearing!
The committee session will start on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. in Hearing Room E1.016. You can expect to spend most of the morning there. The Chair often switches agenda items so we never know exactly when our bill will come up for action.
Click here for maps of the Capitol area, including the public parking garage, and the Capitol Extension.
Please contact Mark Stine (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 512-476-7433 if you have questions. Call Mark at cell 512-921-0581 the day of the hearing if needed.
We’ve been working and waiting long for this.
All of us know how important this bill is for the overall safety of cyclists in Texas. We are optimistic that we will have success but we all must still work every step of the way in this laborious process. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have stepped up to support BikeTexas in this effort.
Please forward this to friends!