FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2016
(AUSTIN)—Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today pre-filed the first 41 Senate Bills (SB) and the first Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) of the 85th Texas Legislative Session that will convene on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
"My staff and I have been working diligently to craft a legislative agenda that reflects the priorities of families in our district and throughout our great state," Senator Zaffirini said. "These include ensuring families have the option of enrolling their children in high-quality pre-k programs, ensuring college students can afford tuition and promoting health, public safety and a clean environment."
Of the 42 bills filed Monday by Senator Zaffirini, six relate to higher education; two, public education; and four, health and human services. Her bills include the following:
- SB 31, which would prohibit texting while driving.
- SB 32, which would establish a successor to the B-On-Time Loan Program to provide low interest loans to high-achieving, low-income college students.
- SB 33, which would reform the TEXAS Grant financial aid program to incentivize timely graduation and maximize limited funding.
- SB 34, which would expand the use of outcomes-based funding in higher education to promote timely graduation and degree completion.
- SB 35, which would create universal pre-k for all four-year olds and expand half-day pre-k to qualifying at-risk three-year olds.
- SB 36-41, which would continue reforms to Texas' guardianship system begun during the 2015 legislative session.
- SB 42, which would implement the Texas Judicial Council's recommendations to improve security at Texas' courthouses and courtrooms.
- SB 48, which would established two annual, ten-day tax-free periods during which eligible low-income students would be able to purchase or rent textbooks tax-free.
- SB 50, which would strengthen state laws against hazing.
- SB 56, which would strengthen state agencies' cybersecurity plans.
- SB 65, which would authorize state enforcement action against a cemetery that is discriminating on the basis of race.
- SB 66, which would exempt vehicles purchased by active-duty service members deployed overseas from sales tax.
- SB 68, which would require an elected official convicted of a felony crime to forfeit his or her pension.
- SB 69, which would prohibit leaving a pet in a hot car and authorize a person to free a pet or a vulnerable person (baby) trapped in a hot car.
- SB 70, which would clarify the requirement that employers provide earning statements to employees.
- SB 71, which would help the City of San Marcos better manage restoration and environmental protection of the San Marcos River.
Bills are numbered chronologically as they are filed, though 1-30 were reserved for the priorities of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Because hers were the first Senate bills filed for 2017, Senator Zaffirini' s are numbered 31-71 and SJR 6.
"The bills we filed today are a great beginning, but we are just getting started," Senator Zaffirini said. "We will file additional legislation, especially as we finalize interim reports developed by the committees on which I serve."
Vice Chair of the Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee, Senator Zaffirini also serves on the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development, State Affairs and Health and Human Services committees and the Texas Judicial Council. A member of the Energy Council since 2009, she organized the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus in 2012.
She has sponsored and passed 895 bills and 52 substantive resolutions. Showing her bipartisan effectiveness, in the 2015 Republican-dominated Texas Legislature she passed 102 bills, breaking her personal record and passing more bills than any other legislator that year.
"The 2017 Texas legislature will address critical issues, including public and higher education and health and human services, especially for the very young, the very old, the very poor and persons with disabilities," Senator Zaffirini said. "I encourage anyone interested in these or other issues to contact me or my staff so that we can consider any suggestions for improvement or additional legislation. Some of my best legislation was suggested by constituents, and no idea is too big or too small."
SECOND IN SENIORITY in the Texas Senate, Senator Judith Zaffirini champions the priorities of SD 21 families, including higher and early education and health and human services, especially for the very young, the very old and persons with disabilities. Vice Chair of the Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee, Senator Zaffirini also serves on the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development, State Affairs and Health and Human Services committees and the Texas Judicial Council. She is shown above with Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls.