AUSTIN - January 16, 2003 was a ceremonial and procedural day for the Texas Senate. Lieutenant Governor Ratliff presented Brownsville Senator Eddie Lucio with the gavel from Tuesday's session, when he was elected President Pro-Tempore, and Senate Resolution 12, paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was adopted. The Senate will not hold Session Friday or Monday in honor of the Martin Luther King holiday.
Half an hour after convening, the Senate recessed to the House of Representatives for a Joint Session to count the votes cast in the election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The results of the canvass declared Rick Perry the winner of the Gubernatorial race with 2,632,541 votes and, with 2,341,875 votes, David Dewhurst officially won the race for Lieutenant Governor.
After the declaration of the results, the Senate returned to their Chamber to discuss Resolution 16, establishing the permanent rules of the Senate for the 78th Legislature.
The same rules of the 77th Legislature were adopted with a few modifications. Firstly, bills or resolutions must be submitted by 3pm, an hour earlier than the previous rules stated, in order to be placed on the Intent Calendar. Also, a bill or resolution cannot be taken up until it has been posted on the Intent Calendar for two days. The deadline of seventeen days has been changed to three days before the final adjournment of the Legislature, after which no bill shall be passed which has not been presented, referred to, and reported from a Senate committee.
Changes were also made to abolish the Special Committee on Redistricting and to alter the membership of some of the Standing Committees. New committees added were: the Committee on Government Organization, the Committee on Infrastructure Development and Security, and the Committee on International Relations and Trade.
Session was adjourned and will reconvene Tuesday, January 21, 2003, at 11 a.m.