FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2018
(AUSTIN)—Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today pre-filed the first 32 Senate bills (SB) of the 86th Texas Legislative Session that will convene on Tuesday, January 8.
"Filing bills early is the first critical step in addressing the priorities of Senate District 21 families, which include expanding access to high-quality early and higher education, promoting public safety and ensuring vulnerable Texans are protected by a legal system free from corruption," the senator said.
Of the 32 bills filed Monday by Senator Zaffirini, six relate to higher education; four, public education; and two, health and human services. Her bills include the following:
- SB 31, which would establish a guardianship abuse, fraud and exploitation deterrence program.
- SB 32, which would establish tuition-free public higher education for Texas students whose annual household incomes are less than $100,000.
- SB 33, which would establish tuition-free, in-state access to Texas community colleges.
- SB 34, which would reform the TEXAS Grant financial aid program to incentivize timely graduation and maximize limited funding.
- SB 35, 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 36, 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 37, which would prohibit the denial, suspension, revocation or refusal to renew a professional license due to a default on student loan payments.
- SB 38, which would strengthen statutory definitions of hazing, clarify immunity provisions in current law and broaden the reporting requirements for universities regarding hazing.
- SB 39, which would simplify the structure of civil court fees.
- SB 40, which would clarify a regional presiding judge's authority to relocate a court to the safest and most convenient location following a natural disaster.
- SB 41, which would exempt the appointment of non-profit and pro bono lawyers from court rotation and fee reporting requirements.
- SB 42, which would enact reforms to prevent predatory wrap mortgage lending.
- SB 43, which would prohibit a person from using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving a vehicle.
- SB 44, which would prohibit a state employee from using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving a state-owned vehicle or with a state-owned device while driving a personal vehicle.
- SB 45, which would require new or retrofitted state buildings to include a private space for women to breastfeed or pump.
- SB 46, which would provide that sexual harassment against a paid employee is an unlawful employment practice and would apply that provision to an employer who employs one or more persons.
- SB 47, which would reestablish the Promoting Independence Advisory Committee.
- SB 48, which would allow a judge who comes out of retirement to resume participation in the judicial retirement system.
- SB 49, which would require campaign finance reports for justices of the peace and county court-at-law judges to be posted to a county website, if such a website exists.
- SB 50, which would exempt vehicles purchased by active-duty service members deployed overseas from sales tax.
- SB 51, which would require public school district-level committees to review paperwork requirements and make recommendations regarding reassignment to non-instructional staff.
- SB 52, which would allow local school authorities to accommodate students who transfer into the Texas public school system after completion of 11th grade.
- SB 53, which would require, to the extent resources allow, 9-1-1 services to accept text messages.
- SB 54, which would establish that a student in a regional day school program for the deaf whose parent does not reside in the school district is not considered a student of the district for the purposes of calculating accountability ratings.
- SB 55, which would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the time of the general election.
- SB 56, which would require sexual harassment training for legislators and their staff.
- SB 57, which would allow the legal representative of a professional to purchase TxDOT's car crash report if it is relevant to a claim of liability arising out of professional services provided in connection with the accident.
- SB 58, which would clarify that the leased-vehicle property tax exemption applies to local governments and non-profits.
- SB 59, which would clarify existing law regarding commercial drones' authority to take photographs for delivery purposes.
- SB 60, which would authorize the Texas Funeral Service Commission to refer burial discrimination cases to the Office of the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief.
- SB 61, which would exempt gun safes, trigger locks and other safe-storage equipment from sales tax.
- SB 62, which would create an interagency workgroup to study unfunded mandates on local government.
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 2019, Senator Zaffirini's are numbered 31-62.
"My staff and I have collaborated extensively with stakeholders and constituents throughout the interim to prepare for pre-filing," she said. "The bills we filed today are only a portion of our legislative agenda, which reflects the diverse needs and interests of families across all 18 counties in Senate District 21. We will file additional legislation, especially as we finalize interim reports developed by the committees on which I serve."
Senator Zaffirini is Vice Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and serves on the Business and Commerce, Administration and State Affairs committees. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also appointed her to the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the Texas Judicial Council. A member of the Energy Council since 2009, she is Senate Chair of the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus.
She has sponsored and passed 1,024 bills and 53 substantive resolutions, more than any other legislator in the history of the State of Texas. Showing her bipartisan effectiveness, in the 2017 Republican-dominated Texas Legislature she passed 109 bills, breaking her personal record and passing more bills than any other legislator for the second consecutive legislative session.
"Constituent feedback is essential as we continue to prepare for the legislative session, especially because some of my best bills were suggested by constituents," Senator Zaffirini said. "The 2019 Legislature will give all Texans an opportunity to make their voices heard as we address critical issues, and I encourage residents of SD 21 in particular to contact my staff or me so that we can consider any suggestions for improvement or additional legislation."
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. She is Vice Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and serves on the Business and Commerce, Administration and State Affairs committees. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also appointed her to the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the Texas Judicial Council. A member of the Energy Council since 2009, she is Senate Chair of the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus.