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House Committee Preview: West, Redistricting, TWIA Finances

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT

The Texas Legislature has just over a week left in its special session.

Today, House Committees will meet on a variety of topics including permanent election maps, oversight of the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion and the financial condition of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

On Friday, the full Texas Senate passed maps drawn by a federal court for state legislative and congressional races.

The House Redistricting Committee has yet to vote on all three maps. Republicans want to pass the court-drawn maps like the Senate did, but Democrats say those maps aren’t fair enough to minority voters.Meanwhile, state departments involved in the investigation of the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people in West, Texas will brief members of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.

The Department of Public Safety and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are among those set to report to lawmakers.

Some have questioned whether the plant was properly regulated. As previously reported, the plant hadn't been inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1985.

Also today, experts will testify on the sustainability of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.

The TWIA is the state’s insurer of last resort for coastal residents. Officials have warned the insurance agency isn’t financially sustainable. It’s money troubles really began after Hurricane Ike – when homeowners sued because the insurer didn’t pay for some damages.

Roy is a second year journalism professional track graduate student at the University of Texas.
Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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