News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2009
Contact: Celeste Villarreal
512/463-0121

Zaffirini Sworn-In as 2nd-Highest Ranking Senator

(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, the second highest-ranking Texas state senator, today (Tuesday) was sworn in for another four-year term representing SD 21. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst presided during Opening Day Ceremonies, officially gaveling to order the 81st Texas Legislative Session.

"I truly am delighted to renew my unwavering support for all families in our district," Senator Zaffirini said. "I especially look forward to prioritizing education and health and human services and to ensuring the health and welfare of Texans, especially those whom I represent." She returns as the highest-ranking senator for Bexar County and the border region.

First elected in 1986, Senator Zaffirini has received more than 600 awards and honors for her legislative, public service and professional work, including more than 100 awards for excellence in communications.

Her legendary work ethic is reflected in her 100 percent voting record in the Texas Senate, having cast more than 38,530 consecutive votes since 1987. She has sponsored and passed 581 bills and 51 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 278 bills.

Her 2007 legislative successes include sponsoring and passing Senate Bill (SB) 6, which protects Texas children and families from sexual Communication and solicitation via the internet; SB 99, which supports persons living in Texas' most impoverished communities by increasing the number of state agencies required to submit data about projects that serve colonias; SB 1050, which creates new work-study opportunities for college students by developing a program through which students could serve as peer mentors and tutors as part of their work-study financial aid program; and SB 1051, which provides waivers to the core curriculum for foreign students enrolled in international institutions in a joint-degree program with Texas colleges and universities.

Senator Zaffirini pre-filed 49 bills before the 2009 session began, including many relating to higher education, public education, health and human services, juvenile and criminal justice, agriculture, transportation, judiciary and technology.

"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," she said.

The lieutenant governor is expected to appoint new Senate committees this month.

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI is sworn-in during ceremonies at the Texas Senate on Tuesday. She represents Senate District 21, including 16 counties and northeast Bexar County. The highest ranking Hispanic and second-highest ranking senator in Texas, she was first elected in 1986.