Senator Lucio's Letterhead

PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

SENATOR LUCIO FILES FIRST GROUP OF BILLS FOR UPCOMING 80TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

AUSTIN, TX -- State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. filed several bills yesterday for the upcoming 80th Legislative Session beginning Jan. 9, 2007. Bill filing officially began Monday, Nov. 13, 2006.

"This is part of the normal legislative process, and I am pleased to announce that these bills are the first of my legislative packet that will continue to expand," explained Sen. Lucio. "We've had the interim to research many issues, and I feel I will have one of the strongest legislative packages of the session."

For example, Senate Bill (SB) 69 will require schools with 350 students or more to hire a full-time certified counselor. The goal of this legislation and other bills yet to be filed provides students with more quality interaction with their guidance counselors. Another measure, SB 70, also affects public schools. It will assist school districts with bond payments for the construction and expansion of school facilities in low-wealth districts.

Authoring SB 71, Sen. Lucio is creating an automatic inflation adjustment for the salaries of classroom teachers and other school professionals so that the salaries adjust to the rising costs of housing, health care and other living expenses. Texas loses many of its best educators to the private sector because of inadequate pay. This legislative measure is intended to assist in the recruitment and retention of teachers for Texas schools.

In a continued effort to reduce obesity and related diseases among Texans, Sen. Lucio also filed legislation to improve worksite wellness efforts in state agencies. SB 72 establishes an interagency Statewide Worksite Wellness Advisory Board and includes language to increase healthy behaviors for state employees. The bill also encourages the creation of inner-agency Wellness Councils, which will empower state employees to assume leadership positions to promote good nutrition and fitness among co-workers. Sen. Lucio will also pursue legislation to create an Interagency Obesity Council designed to improve nutrition in public schools.

Sen. Lucio has re-filed legislation to create an address confidentiality program to assist victims of family violence, sexual assault or stalking. SB 74 directs the Attorney General to establish the program by designating a substitute post office box address that a victim of domestic violence can use in lieu of a physical address.

Adding his signature to SB 95, Sen. Lucio strongly supports raising the minimum wage gradually to $6.15 an hour by Sept. 1, 2007 and to $7.15 by Sept. 1, 2008. The bill's author is Sen. Rodney Ellis.

Legislative Director is Mr. Ian Randolph, and he can be reached at 512-463-0127.

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