Austin Impacts
By DS Gands
Jul 19, 2004
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From the Governor’s Office:


Executive Order Targets Fraud in Government, Unemployment Insurance, and Health Care

DALLAS - Gov. Rick Perry today issued a sweeping directive to all state agencies to establish wide-ranging efforts to detect and eliminate fraud in government programs.



From Texas Workforce Commission:


Texas unemployment rate drops again, employment shows modest gain


TWC Holds Its First-Annual Veterans' Services Conference
July 12-16
Event to Focus on Increasing Employer Awareness of Veterans and Improving Veteran Services

AUSTIN -- The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will present its first-annual Veterans' Services Conference July 12-16 at the Doubletree Post Oak Hotel in Houston.



From Department of Health:


TDH Announces Year’s First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile

The Texas Department of Health (TDH) today announced the year’s first confirmed human case of West Nile in Texas.


The victim, an adult resident of Orange County in Southeast Texas, became ill in June and later died. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, TDH is not providing additional information about the individual.


Information pages – West Nile



From Comptroller’s Office:


Comptroller Strayhorn Calls for Federal Investigation into CHIP Scandal July 12 (Austin)--Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn today, in separate letters to United States Attorney Johnny Sutton and United States Health and Human Services Acting Principal Deputy Inspector General Dara Corrigan, asked for a federal investigation into mishandled contracts in the Texas Children's Health Insurance Program.



From Texas Education Agency:


Passing rates on third-grade TAKS reading exam hit 97 percent on English test and 94 percent on Spanish exam

 July 15 (AUSTIN) – Passing rates on the crucial third-grade state reading test continued to climb with about 97 percent of students mastering the English version of the test by their third attempt.  About 94 percent of the students who took the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) reading test in Spanish also passed.


From Texas Parks and Wildlife:


Experts Dispel Drowning Myths, Stress Safety Tips

AUSTIN, Texas — Contrary to what's portrayed in movies, drowning victims usually don't scream and splash when in distress — they just go underwater.



From Department of Agriculture:


Family Land Heritage Program Seeks Historic Farms And Ranches For Recognition

July 12 AUSTIN — Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs announced that the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage Program is seeking farms and ranches for recognition by the Family Land Heritage Program, which marks its 30th anniversary this year. Since the first ceremony on Oct. 14, 1974, the program has honored almost 3,900 farms and ranches in 222 counties for being kept in continuous agricultural production by the same family.



From Texas Department of Homeland Security:


            Current Status:  ELEVATED


Assemble and Emergency Supply Kit



From the Senate Press Office:



July 12 (Austin)  The Texas Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations is examining the fees charged by County Clerks when they receive requests for copies of public documents. Ms. Hadassah Schloss from the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, testified that her agency helps local governments decide how much to charge so that they can recover their costs. During this interim the committee is studying all local and state document fees and whether legislation that might change those fees is needed. She recommended that certain standard fees do need to be established statewide.


            Senate Committees:

                        Committee Schedules



From the House Press Office:


Provider Fraud discoveries threatens CHIP


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

AUSTIN – State Representative Chuck Hopson (Jacksonville) announced today that due to recently discovered fraud in the Texas' Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), he is renewing his call for streamlining government and making it more efficient. Rep. Hopson co-authored legislation in 2001 that created CHIP, a state-federal initiative that provides low-cost health insurance coverage to children of working families that cannot afford health insurance.

A recent report by the State Auditor's Office found a $20 million overpayment to a contractor,  which administered CHIP in rural East Texas. Additionally, the report revealed a $5 million payment to a sub-contractor that had no staff and did not provide any services that directly benefited CHIP.


            House Committees:

                        Committee schedules


© 2004 by DS Gands – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DS Gands is a journalist living in North Texas and has been published in various magazines and newspapers since 1977. 


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