FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2019
(AUSTIN)—Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, received the 2019 Legislative Achievement Award from AARP Texas. The organization presented the award to recognize the senator's legislative efforts to improve the state's guardianship system. Her Senate Bill (SB) 31, which went into effect on Sept. 1, established the Guardianship Abuse, Fraud, and Exploitation Deterrence Program, which will help prevent the exploitation of persons who need a legal guardian because they cannot care for themselves.
"I was delighted to receive this award and to have AARP Texas' support in passing this critical bill," Senator Zaffirini said. "We developed SB 31 after hearing testimony about terrible physical and financial abuse that went undiscovered throughout the state for years. I hope guardianship cases now will receive more effective oversight, precluding further harm."
Senator Zaffirini received multiple awards following her historically productive legislative session, during which she passed 127 bills. The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the Texas Library Association also honored the senator for legislation she passed in 2019.
"My constituents reflect the diversity of our great state, and their interests and needs are equally varied," the senator said. "Important legislation often must be filed again and again before it is successfully passed into law, such as the Guardianship Abuse, Fraud, and Exploitation Deterrence Program, which I passed on my second try. Persistence and resilience are the keys to successful lawmaking, and I was thrilled that our dedication this session yielded such wonderful results for Senate District 21 and for our state."
Preparation for the legislative session that begins in 2021 is underway, and Senator Zaffirini encourages advocates to begin working with her now to enhance their future success. "My staff and I already are working with stakeholders to re-file worthy bills that failed and to develop new legislation. We welcome suggestions and collaboration, especially from constituents, whose feedback has resulted in some of my best legislation."
The senator has received more than 1,000 awards and recognitions for her professional and public service work, including being named Mr. South Texas by the Washington’s Birthday Association and Sister Judith, an Honorary Nun, by the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Ministries. Second in seniority in the 31-member Texas Senate, she is the namesake of Texas A&M International University's Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, United ISD's Senator Judith Zaffirini Elementary School, Laredo Community College's Senator Judith Zaffirini Library, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park's Senator Judith Zaffirini Road and Edinburg's Judith Zaffirini Residential Treatment Center that focuses on fighting drug addiction.
Senator Zaffirini's legendary work ethic is reflected in her career-long 100 percent voting record and her perfect attendance in the Texas Senate since 1987, except for breaking quorum deliberately to prevent an untimely re-redistricting that the U.S. Supreme Court (2006) ruled violated the Voting Rights Act and disenfranchised voters in SD 21. She is the second highest-ranking senator and the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic in the Texas Senate.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, represents District 21 in the Texas Senate. A tireless advocate for her constituents, she prioritizes access to quality health care and education for the very young, the very old, the very poor, persons with disabilities and veterans.