The Senate of the State of Texas started business for the 79th Legislative Session by electing its president pro tempore for the next 140 days. Plano Senator Florence Shapiro was unanimously chosen by her peers to hold the office, and will serve as governor when Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst are out of the state. Her colleagues praised Shapiro's spirit, compassion, tenacity, fairness and work-ethic. Shapiro chairs the Education Committee this session, a group which will find itself in the spotlight as the Legislature tackles the issue of public school finance reform. Nearly every Senator rose today to give Shapiro a vote of confidence in her ability to manage this task.
Following the election of Shapiro, Governor Perry addressed the body, reminding the Senate the great responsibilities set out before them. "What we do here today is a great celebration," said Perry, "but it also has deep and long term impacts on the people of this state." Perry also urged the Senate to work across party lines to accomplish school finance reform, budget management, and health care reform for children and the indigent.
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst says he is optimistic that the Senate will be able to work together. "I think what you saw today is a demonstration of all of our thirty-one senators coming together, bi-partisan support for doing what's right here in Texas." Dewhurst was praised last session by lawmakers for his ability to let legislators work together and fostering a bi-partisan spirit during what was seen by many as one of the most polarized sessions in recent memory.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, January 12th, at 11:00 A. M.