FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2017
(AUSTIN) —The Texas Legislature today adjourned the 2017 legislative session Sine Die today (Monday), with Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, having passed 108 bills since January. That brings her total to 1,003 bills passed since 1987, more than any other legislator in the history of the State of Texas. This year she again broke her personal record, passing 54 Senate bills and 54 House bills.
"This legislation will improve the quality of life for countless families in Senate District 21 and throughout Texas," Senator Zaffirini said. "Our successes include measures that improve public safety, increase access to justice, protect fundamental constitutional rights, enhance health coverage for persons in need of mental health care and incentivize the use of more environmentally-friendly vehicles."
Her major 2017 legislation included:
- House Bill (HB) 62 (with Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland), which would prohibit texting while driving statewide.
- Senate Bill (SB) 42 (with Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo), the Judge Julie Kocurek Judicial and Courthouse Security Act of 2017.
- SB 667 (with Rep. Smithee), which would establish a guardianship compliance program to help ensure guardianships are managed appropriately and persons with guardians are not exploited. Eight other guardianship bills authored by Senator Zaffirini passed as stand-alone legislation or as amendments to other bills (SB 1096, SB1709, SB1710, SB 36, SB 38, SB 39, SB 40 and SB 1764)
- SB 1913 (with Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston), which would address the problem of debtors' prisons in Texas by giving judges the flexibility to impose community service or waive fees when defendants are unable to pay.
- HB 10 (with Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo), mental health parity legislation which would ensure that treatments for mental health conditions and substance use disorders are covered by health insurance plans on par with treatments for physical health conditions.
- SB 748 (with Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston), which would update the guidelines for transition planning for students in special education and help reduce guardianships by making sure that schools recognize alternatives.
"Persistence is key to success in the Texas Senate," Senator Zaffirini said. "Many bills don't pass until the second or third try. This was the fifth consecutive session I've filed a texting ban bill, and it gained additional support each session."
Senator Zaffirini encourages her constituents to participate in the policymaking process, especially because they have suggested ideas for some of her best legislation.
"My staff and I already are working with stakeholders and constituents to improve bills that didn't pass this session and develop new ones for the session that convenes in January, 2019," she said. "What's more, it is possible that Governor Abbott will call one or more special sessions before 2018, and we plan to be prepared for any opportunities to pass additional legislation that would benefit Texas families."
Senator Zaffirini's legendary work ethic is reflected in her 100 percent voting record, having cast more than 55,660 consecutive votes as of 2015, and her perfect attendance in the Texas Senate since 1987, except for breaking quorum deliberately to prevent an untimely re-redistricting that the U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled violated the Voting Rights Act and disenfranchised voters in SD 21. During her time in the Senate, she has sponsored and passed 1,003 bills and 53 substantive resolutions.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-Laredo, passed 108 bills during the 2017 legislative session, again breaking her personal record and maintaining her position as the legislature's top bill-passer.