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February 26, 2001     (512) 463-0300
Senator Leticia Ven de Putte responding to questions on her first Senate bill
San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte responding to questions from Houston Senator Mario Gallegos about Senate Bill (SB) 274 which relates to the Bexar County Hospital District. During passage of her first bill as a senator, Van de Putte experienced some good natured ribbing from fellow senators, in the spirit of Senate tradition. Senator Van de Putte spent ten years in the Texas House prior to her election to the Senate.

San Antonio Senator
Gets Freshman Treatment

AUSTIN - San Antonio Sen. Leticia Van de Putte today experienced the Senate's traditional treatment of a new member passing a bill for the first time.

Her colleagues voted -- eventually -- to approve the Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 274 which she sponsored.

The bill would stipulate that hospital district taxes collected in Bexar County could only be used for hospital and medical purposes. A floor amendment sponsored by Houston Sen. Jon Lindsay was also added to the bill that would also apply the law to Harris County.

The fun started immediately after Van de Putte was recognized on the bill. As soon as she began laying out the bill for consideration, Dallas Sen. Royce West opened the interrogation.

"I think she needs to make sure this goes to the Calendars Committee first," West said. "That's a point of order." A point of order is a motion calling attention to a breach in parliamentary procedure.

The House of Representatives, where Van de Putte served from 1990 to 1999, has a Calendars Committee that schedules when bills will be taken up for consideration, but there is no Calendars Committee in the Senate.

Corpus Christi Sen. Carlos F. Truan then asked to be recognized on either a motion to read the entire text of the bill or re-refer it back to committee.

"You're not recognized for either purpose," Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff told Truan.

The Senate eventually did vote to pass CSSB 274, but not before subjecting Van de Putte to a number of unusual questions and motions about the bill.

One colleague who did not make the process more difficult for Van de Putte was Sen. Todd Staples of Palestine, who let Van de Putte know she had his full support. The only other freshman in the Senate, Staples knows he can expect similar treatment when his first Senate bill comes up for consideration.

In other Senate news, Monday included a full committee schedule, including the Education Committee, which heard invited testimony on public school employee health insurance. The Administration Committee was scheduled to convene late in the day to consider House Concurrent Resolution 42, declaring Odessa the "Jackrabbit-Roping Capital of Texas."

The Senate is adjourned until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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