from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
January 9, 2007

Zaffirini Begins Session as 2nd-Highest Ranking Senator

AUSTIN -- Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, became the second highest-ranking Texas state senator today (Tuesday) during Opening Day Ceremonies officially gaveling to order the 80th Texas Legislative Session. She returns as the highest-ranking senator for Bexar County and the border region.

"I truly am delighted to renew my unwavering support of all families in Senate District 21," Senator Zaffirini said. "I especially look forward to prioritizing higher education, health and human services and ensuring the health and welfare of all persons living in my district and throughout our great state."

First elected in 1986, Senator Zaffirini begins her 20th year in the Texas Senate. She has received more than 550 awards and honors for her legislative, public service and professional work, including 94 awarded for excellence in communications.

Senator Zaffirini's legendary work ethic is reflected in her 100 percent perfect attendance and voting record in the Texas Senate since 1987. She has cast more than 34,000 consecutive votes and has sponsored and passed 515 bills and 51 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 253 bills. Her most recent legislative successes include sponsoring and passing HB 153, which authorizes Texas universities to issue $1.9 billion in tuition revenue bonds for capital improvements. This was the largest single investment Texas has ever made for higher education. What's more, in August, 2006, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst appointed Senator Zaffirini Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education.

"Higher education is my passion and my highest legislative priority," Senator Zaffirini said. "I am grateful that Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst named me Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that higher education is made affordable, accessible and provided to all students with the utmost quality and assurance of excellence."

Senator Zaffirini also will prioritize health and human services, early childhood education, finance and government efficiency. Access to quality health care for Texas communities is a top priority. She will work to expand statewide health services, support and enhance community health services and improve overall health and human services for every family living in Texas.

Senator Zaffirini pre-filed 25 bills before the session began, ranging from modifying State classification processes of colonias to creating tax-free periods for buying college textbooks.

Senator Zaffirini's new Capitol office is located in the Senate=s east wing, 1E.14. The 80th session will adjourn on May 28. Live sessions of the Senate and its committee hearings are available via www.capitol.state.tx.us. The website offers information regarding the legislature and other government agencies. Information about the status of bills is available online via the Legislative Reference Library's toll-free Texas number, 877/824-7038.

"I look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and my Senate colleagues to pass legislation that places families first, improves public and higher education and increases access and availability of quality health services," Senator Zaffirini said. The lieutenant governor is expected to appoint new Senate committees this month.

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