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Healthcare, Transportation Policy Issues Focus of Biennial Texas State Legislature New Member Orientation Presented by the LBJ School and UT Austin

LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings to Provide Opening Remarks

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 1, 2010--The University of Texas at Austin and its Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is collaborating with the offices of the Texas speaker of the house and lieutenant governor on the presentation of the 20th biennial “Pre-Session Legislative Conference,” an orientation for new members of the state legislature instituted in 1970.

As part of the four-day orientation, the LBJ School of Public Affairs will host an open session on Friday, Dec. 3, focusing on health and transportation policy issues, each likely to be major topics during the 82nd legislative session. LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings will make opening remarks for Friday’s session, which is open to the public.

The open session will be composed of two policy panels. The first panel, beginning at 10 a.m., will focus on health care and will include: Senator Judith Zaffirini, Representative John Davis, Representative Lois Kolhorst, Commissioner Mike Geeslin of the Texas Department of Insurance and Commissioner Tom Suehs of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. University of Texas at Austin Professor and Vice Provost for Health Affairs William Sage will moderate the panel.

The second panel, beginning at 1 p.m., will focus on transportation and will include: Senator Kirk Watson, Senator Tommy Williams, Representative Armando Martinez, Representative Larry Phillips, Representative Joe Pickett, John Barton of the Texas Department of Transportation and Chairman Deirdre Delisi of the Texas Transportation Commission. Randy Machemehl, the Nasser I. Al-Rashid Centennial Professor in Transportation Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, will moderate the panel.

Registration will open at 9 a.m. followed by remarks by Hutchings at 9:30 a.m.

The biennial Pre-Session Legislative Conference was instituted in 1970 by the LBJ School of Public Affairs as an educational forum for members of the Texas legislature to discuss significant problems facing the state government of Texas. The New Member Orientation Program conducted by the legislature was combined with this conference in 1976 and since that time the Pre-Session Legislative Conference has been sponsored and conducted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Legislature through the offices of the Speaker of the House and Lieutenant Governor.

The first three days of the conference are designed as an orientation for newly elected legislators, with part of the session being conducted at the State Capitol and the remaining, open part, conducted at The University of Texas at Austin. The final day of the conference is reserved for the discussion of the most critical issues facing the legislature in its upcoming sessions.

The open session will take place at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Registration is recommended. For an agenda and to register, visit: