State Representative Ellen Cohen issued the following statement regarding the passage of House Bill 51 and House Joint Resolution 14 helping establish more Tier One universities in Texas:
“The passage of these two bills makes me very grateful for the leadership of the House. Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch and Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Craig Eiland worked together for two important goals in these bills.
“First, establishing a system for emerging research universities, especially the University of Houston, to achieve Tier One research status is crucial for the future of Texas. By both providing resources and fostering competition among institutions, the framework in House Bill 51 provides a historic step in higher education funding. I thank Chairman Branch and members of our committee in supporting our emerging research universities. As the only representative on Higher Education from Houston, I look forward to campaigning for the constitutional amendment this fall, where Houston will again play a big role.
“Secondly, the $150 million in tuition revenue bonds for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston will greatly contribute to restoring one of our state’s best educational and medical resources. UTMB and its Level 1 Trauma Center will help the strained emergency room resources of Ben Taub and Memorial Herman. I was very proud to work with Chairman Eiland on both the supplemental appropriations bill and this tuition revenue bond package that show the State of Texas’ commitment to rebuilding UTMB.”
Cohen is a member of the Higher Education Committee and of the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Hurricane Ike. Rebuilding UTMB and establishing more Tier One universities were top priorities for her this session. Cohen was a member of the Conference Committee on House Bill 51 as well as a Joint Author.