Here are the next three panel recordings from last week’s Policy Orientation. The final two panels on criminal justice will be posted tomorrow. Please note that the audio files are very large and should only be downloaded via a broadband connection.

* “Who’s Best Suited to Judge? Judicial Restructuring in Texas” (Presenters: Rep. Dan Gattis, Guy Choate, Lee Parsley, Fred Raschke. Moderator: Drew Thornley.)

Recent reforms to Texas’ civil justice system have made Texas a more attractive place for business and industry. In particular, the 2003 medical malpractice reforms have led to a marked increase in the number of practicing physicians in Texas and in the number of medical malpractice insurance carriers. Even with the success of tort reform, there is room for improvement in Texas’ judicial system. This panel will examine the future of the judicial system in Texas, including possible changes to jury selection, guidelines for expert testimony, judicial selection, and court reorganization.

* “Eminent Domain Reform: Compensate or Confiscate?” (Presenters: Rep. Beverly Woolley, James Mann, Glenn Sodd. Moderator: Bill Peacock.)

While Texas was one of the first states to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, it has yet to finish the job it started. Attempts to protect Texans’ property rights last legislative session fell short because of disagreements over blight and compensation issues. This panel will discuss what needs to be done to restore Texas to its place of national leadership on property rights issues.

* “Better, Faster, Cheaper? Privatization in Texas” (Presenters: Rep. Carl Isett, Leonard Gilroy, Jason Turner. Moderator: Mary Katherine Stout.)

From privately owned and operated toll roads to the state’s health and human services privatization effort, privatization is a familiar topic in Texas. Yet critics often argue that privatization compromises state control of assets and services, and fails to effectively deliver services due to focus on generating profits. Privatization’s supporters claim that private sector operation and management can handle things better, faster, and cheaper, but is this true? This panel discussion will consider the record of privatization and whether privatization continues to show promise for Texas.