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LBJ School Hosts Panels on Changing Demographics and Infrastructure Challenges as Part of Legislative Orientation

The University of Texas at Austin and its LBJ School of Public Affairs will collaborate with the offices of Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to host the Pre-Session Legislative Conference, an orientation for new members of the state Legislature taking place Nov. 27 through Nov. 30.

As part of the four-day orientation, the LBJ School of Public Affairs will host a special session to which the public is invited on Friday morning, Nov. 30, focusing on policy issues likely to be major topics during the 83rd Legislative Session. LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings will make opening remarks for Friday’s session, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

The Friday morning session will be composed of two policy panels. The first panel, “What the Next 5, 10 and 20 Years Hold,” beginning at 9 a.m., will focus on the changing demographics of Texas and will include Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Rep. Myra Crownover and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez. The panel will be moderated by Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter.

The second panel, “Potholes and Brown-outs,” beginning at 10:30 a.m., will focus on infrastructure challenges such as highway maintenance and energy. Panelists include Sen. Kirk Watson; Rep. Byron Cook; John Barton, deputy executive director and chief engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation; and Rolando Pablos, commissioner of the Public Utility Commission. The panel will be moderated by Gregory Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Advance registration is recommended for the Friday morning session. For an agenda and to register, visit:

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. 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 the lieutenant governor. The first three days of the conference are designed as an orientation for newly elected legislators, with sessions taking place at the State Capitol. The final day’s session, to which the public is invited, is conducted at The University of Texas at Austin.