78th Legislative Session Ends with a Bang, Nelson Elected Interim President Pro-Tempore
Austin -- With a final bang of the gavel, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst announced that the Senate of the 78th Legislature had adjourned 'sine die'.
'Sine die', a Latin term meaning 'without another day', is the 140th day of the biannual legislative session. The last day is reserved for making corrections to bills, acknowledgments and resolutions.
The Senate voted unanimously to elect Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson as president pro-tempore of the Senate during the interim. The president pro-tempore is the third successor to the governorship, should the governor and the lieutenant governor be out of the state at the same time.
Houston Senator John Whitmire nominated Senator Nelson for the post. He said that in the ten years that he's worked with her in the Senate, she had changed her style to become a more effective state senator, but she has not changed her philosophy.
"Her constituents are first and foremost on her agenda," said Whitmire.
The motion was seconded by almost all of the thirty-one senators. The senators referred to her as a 'dedicated public servant' with a warm spirit and work ethic 'that will not stop.'
Nelson was escorted to the lieutenant governor's podium to take the oath of office and to accept the position.
"You honor me," said Nelson, "I will do my best to represent you well."
Nelson called the Senate a tapestry, one made up of many different individuals who create one body.
Additionally, the Senate acknowledged the staff for their hard work and dedication. The Secretary of the Senate, Patsy Spaw, was handed a bouquet of roses to show the Senate's appreciation for her work during the session and throughout the year.
A crowd gathered in Governor Rick Perry's office to witness him publicly sign into law the 'Tulia bill'. The Tulia bill is called such because it will allow the thirteen Tulia residents still in prison to be released on bond after being convicted in a controversial 1999 drug sting.
The convictions against the 'Tulia 13' were overturned after the sole informant was indicted on perjury. The individuals have been awaiting another trial to repeal the original judgment.
"It's a great day when you can look at a piece of legislation and know that it righted a very bad wrong," stated Whitmire.
The Senate stands adjourned until noon on the second Tuesday of January, 2005, or at the will of Governor Rick Perry, should he decide to call a special session.