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Tuesday, February 16, 1999     (512) 463-0300

The Texas State Senate News

AUSTIN - During session today, the Senate passed two bills before moving to the House Chamber for a Joint Session. Both bills were sponsored by Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo.

Senate Bill (SB) 15 is a clean-up bill reducing the fine currently on the books for the sale of loose cigarettes to minors. The fine is now a maximum of $4,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to one year. When the legislators passed a bill last session restricting minors access to tobacco they intended a fine of $100. This bill makes that correction.

SB 380 authorizes the attorney general to bring suit against an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded rather than requiring such action. This gives the attorney general the option of not bringing a lawsuit if it is not appropriate.

Governor George W. Bush addressed the Joint Session of the Legislature for Military Appreciation Day. This is the first Joint Session in Texas' history to celebrate the military. Men and women in uniform and the defense industry were recognized for their peacekeeping missions and their influence in the State of Texas where the defense community is one of the largest employers. Senator Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi and chair of the Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee was there to congratulate and award military service men and women.

In committee action today, the Senate Health Services Committee passed six bills, including Senate Bill 61, sponsored by San Antonio Senator Frank Madla, requiring stricter regulations for body piercing facilities and Senate Bill 122, sponsored by Committee Chair Jane Nelson, expanding the Good Samaritan Law to include those trained to use an automated external defibrillator.

The Senate reconvenes at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 17.