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TPWD News Release — July 29, 2008

TPW Commission Slates Annual Public Hearing for Houston

AUSTIN, Texas — For the first time in nearly a decade, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will hold its annual public hearing outside of Austin. The August 20-21 meeting will be held at the Houston Zoo.

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department prides itself on being a field organization," said TPW Commission Chairman Peter M. Holt. "Most of our employees work outside of the Austin headquarters. Not surprisingly, that’s also where most of our stakeholders are."

Holt noted that interested citizens often make the drive to Austin from far-flung corners of the Lone Star State. He said that taking the annual public hearing — in which citizens can speak to commissioners about any issue related to the department — on the road is one way to make government more transparent and responsive.

"With the price of gas right now, holding our meeting in the populous southeastern area of the state seems like a good, common-sense move," Holt said. "If this proves to be useful and we have good participation, we’ll look at going to other areas of the state in the future."

While the August meeting agenda has not yet been finalized, the department’s fiscal year 2009 budget will be voted on, as will the 2009 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation. Also on the agenda is funding for numerous outdoor, park and recreation grants, including some for the Houston area.

TPW Commission committees will begin meeting Wed., Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. at the zoo’s Brown Education Center. The public hearing will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The full commission meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday. Directions to the meeting — as well as an agenda when it is complete — are available on the TPWD Web site.

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