SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS 
                                Monday, May 16, 2005 
                                     10:30 a.m. 
                           Capitol Extension, Room E1.016 
         Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule  
         11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Nominations  
         was held on Monday, May 16, 2005, in the Capitol Extension, Room  
         E1.016, at Austin, Texas. 
         MEMBERS PRESENT:                        MEMBERS ABSENT: 
         Senator Jon Lindsay                     Senator Kevin Eltife 
         Senator Bob Deuell                      Senator Mike Jackson 
         Senator Gonzalo Barrientos              Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. 
         Senator Jane Nelson 
         The chair called the meeting to order at 10:40 a.m.  There being  
         no quorum present, the following business was transacted:   
         The following member arrived after the roll was called: Senator  
         Chairman Lindsay announced that self introductions would be made  
         since all the Senators were busy with other committees. He  
         invited the nominees to the Texas Parks and Wildlife to the  
         Dan Friedkin, Peter Holt, John Parker and Robert Brown made  
         brief remarks about their personal histories and their interest  
         in Parks and Wildlife. 
         At 10:50 a.m., Chairman Lindsay announced that the committee  
         would take up the nominees to the Texas Residential Construction  
         Commission after the Senate adjourned. 
         The chair recognized Senator Todd Staples and Senator Rodney  
         Ellis who commented on their constituents John Parker and Dan  
         Friedkin respectively. Both men were highly recommended by their  
         At 10:55 a.m., a quorum was established. Senator Nelson moved  
         adoption of the minutes from the previous hearing; without  
         objection, it was so ordered. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Senator Barrientos who asked the  
         nominees about problems with the Parks and Wildlife phone  
         reservation line, noting that for at least ten years the  
         commission said they were working on it. Barrientos told the  
         nominees that it is unacceptable for callers to have to wait a  
         long time or listen to a stupid recording, and reminded them  
         that is their responsibility to correct the problem. Holt said  
         that the commission is underfunded but that it needs  
         Barrientos asked Brown about employee numbers and ethnic/gender  
         breakdown and Friedkin about game warden salaries. He also asked  
         Holt about hunting over the internet and Parker about the parks  
         grant program. The nominees were then asked to name their  
         highest priority individually. Friedkin said youth outreach for  
         the inner city, Parker said infrastructure and parks and local  
         park funding, Brown said coastal fisheries. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked if flounder should be a game fish. 
         Senator Barrientos moved that a vote be taken on the nominees to  
         the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. At 11:07 a.m., by 4  
         ayes, 0 nays and 3 absent, the committee voted to recommend the  
         nominees to the full Senate for confirmation. 
         The chair announced that it was his intention to vote on the  
         nominees to the Texas Housing and Community Affairs; Senator  
         Barrientos requested that they come back to the committee after  
         the Senate adjourned. Chairman Lindsay announced that the  
         committee would reconvene and take up the nominations to the  
         Texas Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and to the Texas  
         Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) after adjournment of  
         the Senate. 
          At 11:09 a.m. Senator Lindsay moved that the Committee stand  
         recessed subject to the call of the chair.  Without objection,  
         it was so ordered.   
         At 2:45 p.m. the committee reconvened. Chairman Lindsay  
         recognized Senator Kel Seliger to introduce his constituent  
         Patrick Cordero, nominee to the Texas Residential Construction  
         Commission. The chair also recognized Senator John Carona to  
         introduce fellow TRCC nominee, Paulo Flores. 
         Chairman Lindsay invited Patrick Gordon, nominee to the Texas  
         Department of Housing and Community Affairs up to the table and  
         informed the committee that C. Kent Conine, the other nominee to  
         the TDHCA could not appear but submitted a letter which was in  
         the member's binders. Chairman Lindsay introduced Gordon in lieu  
         of Senator Eliot Shapleigh and asked for comments. Gordon said  
         flounder should be a game fish. The chair asked what kind of  
         effect letters of opposition or support had on the agency's  
         decisions regarding certain applicants. 
         At 2:55 p.m., Chairman Lindsay announced that, due to lack of a  
         quorum, the committee would vote on the nominees to the TDHCA at  
         his desk upon the Senate's adjournment the following day. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked all the TRCC nominees to come to the  
         table and recognized Senator Robert Duncan to introduce Art  
         Cuevas, Senator Troy Fraser to introduce Scott Porter, Senator  
         Tommy Willliams to introduce Lewis Brown, Vice-Chairman Deuell  
         to introduce Mickey Redwine and Senator Kevin Eltife to  
         introduce John Krugh in lieu of Senator Kyle Janek. 
         The chair then introduced Kenneth Davis for Senator Craig Estes  
         and Glenda Mariott for Senator Steve Ogden. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Patrick Cordero, chair of the  
         commission, to explain the responsibilities and goals of the  
         newly created agency. Cordero responded, saying that for a brand  
         new agency, developing infrastructure is important. Registering  
         over 19,000 builders and remodelers and coming up with uniform  
         building and warranty standards have also taken their attention. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked the nominees to walk through the  
         arbitration clause within contracts. Paulo Flores said that the  
         TRCC had limited jurisdiction over arbitration and that they  
         dealt with post-closing versus pre-closing problems. Chairman  
         Lindsay asked if the builders are responsible for their  
         subcontractors; Davis said that most disputes occur before  
         closing on the house.  
         The chair recognized Senator Duncan who told the committee that  
         he is concerned that because the consumers will see registration  
         with the state of Texas as a badge he hopes that the commission  
         does more than just take in the registration money. Duncan named  
         a second concern- whether or not the members of the commission  
         have business relationships with each other and if so, whether  
         they thought it was appropriate to do so. Duncan questioned  
         whether the members should affect legislation in their roles as  
         commissioners. Krugh said he opposed about 30 % of the  
         legislation especially when it contains inspection disclosure. 
         Duncan asked the panel to take off their builder hats and do  
         what is fair and balanced for the people in the state of Texas.  
         Duncan asked Porter if the consumer had the right to know  
         whether or not his/her home had been inspected by anyone other  
         than the builder. Porter replied that they will do what the  
         legislature wants. Krugh said that financial disclosure and  
         litigation information language is not well defined. Duncan  
         stated that the TRCC appeared to be a regulatory body but it has  
         ended up regulating the consumer. 
         Paulo Flores commented that all their work is done in open  
         meetings; they were not the fox watching the henhouse and he  
         felt confident that they were fair and balanced. Duncan who said  
         he was not happy about members of the board killing a bill but  
         that he was not criticizing the Governor's choice of appointees. 
         Chairman Lindsay asked the board if they have enough rule-making  
         authority. Cordero said they had gone as far as they can and  
         expressed the need to probe into the integrity area a little  
         better. Duncan said he had polled Senate members who had the  
         same concerns; Chairmen Lindsay said he had done the same and  
         was aware of the concerns. 
         Vice-Chairman Deuell told the board members that he had seen  
         their criteria for home construction and would be upset if it  
         was his home. Davis said they looked at sixteen different  
         standards in public meeting/work sessions. Deuell asked what  
         were the disagreements, Davis said tolerances-what we could live  
         with, then explained the tedious process of deciding on slab  
         standards and explained that they looked at all the different  
         standards in the same manner. Deuell asked about the dispute  
         resolution process and why the consumer had to pay so much for  
         the initial filing fee. Cuevas said that 92% of the disputes  
         were resolved in favor of the consumer and that if the consumer  
         won, the filing fee was returned. Also the consumer can petition  
         for a waiver. Flores said they were new and should be given a  
         At 3:55 p.m., Chairman Lindsay announced that there was no  
         quorum so no vote would be taken. 
         Chairman Lindsay called Janet Ahmad to the table. Ahmad is  
         president of Homeowners for Better Building. She said she was  
         against all the nominees but one, Mickey Redwine. She testified  
         that in two years, the TRCC still did not require the standard  
         IRC code. Ahmad stressed that the TRCC is a 3.25 million dollar  
         state agency that serves a select few. Three of every four  
         homeowners cannot file a complaint because they have no place to  
         file. She mentioned that KB Homes standards were set by risk  
         management attorneys. Ahmad injected comments from the opposing  
         trial attorney in Sandra Bullock's lawsuit - the lawyer said  
         that his client, Bullock's builder, does not have to build past  
         minimum standards. In summary, Ahmad said that all fees go to  
         the commission which has a budget of $2.5 - $3.25 million. 
         At 4:09 p.m., Chairman Lindsay closed public testimony and  
         announced that the Committee would vote on the nominees to TRCC  
         at his desk the following day. 
         The Chair announced that there was registered testimony on a  
         non-appearing nominee to the State Commission on Judicial  
         Conduct, The Honorable Rex Baker. Chairman Lindsay recognized  
         Brad Rockwell, representing Save Our Springs Alliance and  
         himself. Rockwell provided the Committee with a packet of  
         material containing depositions and other documents. Rockwell  
         said the documents proved conflicts of interest and ethical  
         violations by Baker. Each committee member was provided copies  
         of the testimony. 
         Chairman Lindsay recognized Charles O'Dell who also provided  
         documentation of 29 incidences of ethical violations by Baker on  
         public record. Copies of the documentation were provided for  
         each Committee member. 
         The Chair recognized Judy Spalding as a resource witness who  
         registered but did not testify. 
         Chairman Lindsay announced that due to the lack of a quorum, a  
         vote would be taken on all the nominees to the non-appearing  
         entities at his desk on the following day. 
         There being no further business, at 4:20 p.m., Senator Lindsay  
         moved that the Committee stand recessed subject to the call of  
         the chair.  Without objection, it was so ordered.   
         Senator Jon Lindsay, Chair 
         Jazen Wood, Clerk