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April 26, 2007 (512) 463-0300

SENATE HONORS FORMER MEMBERS

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Former Secretary of the Senate Betty King unveils her portrait commissioned in her honor. Current Secretary of the Senate Patsy Spaw (right) looks on.

(AUSTIN) -- The Senate welcomed former members to the Chamber Thursday, continuing a long standing tradition of honoring the history of the body. Some of the former members attending the ceremony, like John Lindsay or Gonzalo Barrientos, just ended their service this year. Others, like Ron Clower and Bill Patman, served as Senators in the 1960's and 70's. The Senate also honored the state's longest serving Secretary of the Senate, Betty King, by unveiling a portrait commissioned to commemorate her long service. Mrs. King was elected by the Senate to the office of Secretary in 1977, and she served in that position until 2001. The portrait will hang in the committee room renamed in her honor in 2003.

Thursday also served as an opportunity for the Senate to remember former members who passed away this year. Among those honored was former Speaker of the House Bill Clayton, who won election as Speaker four consecutive times. Another was Senator Frank Madla, who died in a tragic house fire in November 2006. As a tribute to his memory, the Senate passed a bill named for him, Senate Bill 338, entitled the Frank Madla Act. This bill, by fellow San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte, would require all homes built or sold after January 1, 2008, to be equipped with smoke detectors. The fire that claimed Madla's life, and that of his mother-in-law and granddaughter, occurred in a house that did not have smoke detectors. The bill was amended by Senator Mike Jackson of LaPorte to include sorority and fraternity houses under the requirement.

The Senate also passed a bill intended to increase benefits for members of the Texas National Guard who are killed in the line of duty. Currently, families who lose a loved one to military action are entitled to $21,000. Senate Bill 518, by Houston Senator Rodney Ellis, would increase this amount to $250,000.

The Senate will reconvene Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m.

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The Senate honored former members today following a long standing Senate tradition.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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