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Tuesday, January 12, 1999     (512) 463-0300
Photo: Senator Teel Bivins and his mother, Betty Bivins Lovell, listen to remarks by senators during his election as president pro tempore of the Texas Senate
Amarillo Senator Teel Bivins (Right) and his mother, Betty Bivins Lovell, listen to remarks by senators during his election as president pro tempore of the Texas Senate

Texas Senate Convenes 76th Session

AUSTIN--Texas senators were surrounded by their families and a full chamber as the last legislature of this century convened for a 140 day legislative session. The 76th session began with Governor George W. Bush and lieutenant governor-elect Rick Perry in attendance. The roaring crowd gave Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock a standing ovation as he stepped up to the rostrum. This was the first honor in a day filled with respect and admiration for the departing lieutenant governor.

Senate business, on a day dominated by ceremony and tradition, included swearing in senators-elect and electing a President Pro Tempore. Senators awarded this position to Teel Bivins of Amarillo. His colleagues reminisced about past legislative and personal experiences, stressing his dedication to education and family. As president pro tempore, Bivins acts as chief executive in the absence of the Governor and lieutenant governor.

Bivins included Bullock in his list of the three Texas giants of twentieth century politics. Bullock is known as a champion of both parties. He has appointed Republican senators to important committees and chairs despite his being a Democrat. Bipartisanship sets Texas apart from the rest of the nation according to Bivins.

Some honors surprised Bullock, including a college scholarship in his name at Baylor University.

"No person should be rewarded as I have for doing what you should've done as a public official," Bullock said.

Bullock returned the kindness and support by recognizing the senator's work.

"It is I that thank you from the schoolchildren of Texas, from the underprivileged, from the sick and the needy, for your assistance on their behalf," Bullock said.

The Senate reconvenes tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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