News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2007
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Governor Signs Seven Bills Passed by Senator Zaffirini

(AUSTIN) -- Governor Rick Perry Thursday (July 19) ceremoniously signed seven bills passed by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, during the 2007 legislative session. The legislation included SB 673, known as "Scooter's Bill," and SB 1500, which renamed the Texas Donor, Education, Awareness and Registry program (DEAR) the Glenda Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry to honor the late state representative who received a kidney from her sister.

"I am pleased to join the governor on this momentous occasion," Senator Zaffirini said. "His ceremonial signing of these bills and others that provide unemployment insurance for victims of family violence and support communities in my district marks a successful end to the 2007 legislative session."

Effective immediately, Scooter's Bill will allow students with disabilities who are in individualized education programs (IEP) and who have completed four years of high school to participate in graduation ceremonies and receive attendance certificates. They would receive their diplomas upon completing their IEP. It is named "Scooter's Bill" in honor of Gene "Scooter" Long, a Dallas IEP student who was denied participation in his class's graduation ceremonies by the Dallas Independent School District.

Senate Bill 1500 by Zaffirini and Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, is a tribute to former Rep. Glenda Dawson - a transplant recipient who died last September. Because of SB 1500, DEAR was renamed the Glenda Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry. Texas' organ and tissue donor registry may now affiliate with the National Donate Life America alliance and campaign, which allows the registry to educate and reach more potential donors statewide. The bill is a follow-up to HB 120 (2005) by Dawson and Zaffirini, which created DEAR.

Other bills signed today by Gov. Perry include HB 550 by Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, and Zaffirini authorizing employees to use a protective order, a police record or medical documentation as evidence of family violence for purposes of unemployment benefits.

He also signed several bills passed by Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, and Zaffirini including HB 1373, which creates a task force to study and make recommendations regarding a comprehensive screening, diagnosis, and treatment plan for Texans with chronic kidney disease; HB 2095, which authorizes counties with no incorporated areas, but that have ordinance making authority, to be eligible for any federal grant or funding program for which cities are eligible; HB 2235, which establishes a grant program under the Office of Rural Community Affairs to fund the construction of and equipment for rural technology centers that will prepare area students for careers in applied technology and other highly skilled industries; and HB 2233, which exempts Zapata County from the four percent limit on its hotel occupancy tax, allowing the rate to be up to the statutory seven percent limit.

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