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Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
September 17, 2020
Contact: Laura Felix
Forum to Focus on Impact of COVID-19 on Courtrooms
Co-sponsors are Senator Zaffirini, Hispanic Issues Section of State Bar

(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and the Hispanic Issues Section (HIS) of the State Bar of Texas will host a Zoom webinar on Sept. 23 (Wednesday) at 1:30 p.m. Titled "The Pandemic's Permanent Impact on Texas Courtrooms," the one-hour webinar will include presentations regarding the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on Texas courts, including tips for attorneys and judges to maintain high professional standards while attending or presiding over "court- from-home."

Presenters are Zaffirini, “The Pandemic’s Impact on Courtroom Communication and Presentation Skills”; David Slayton, Executive Director of the Office of Court Administration, "Virtual Courtrooms of the Future"; and Justice Rebeca Martinez, 4th Court of Appeals, "Judicial Perspective from the Online Bench."

Webb County Court-at-Law II Judge Victor Villarreal, who chairs the HIS, will be the moderator.

"I've had to completely change my approach to communication when using Zoom and other platforms," Senator Zaffirini said. "The same is true for attorneys and judges, and I'm delighted to host this event and to join such an accomplished panel to share what we've learned these last six months.”

Villarreal said it's important that everyone involved in court proceedings understands new technologies and can utilize them effectively. “Participants will learn about courtrooms of the future and about the judge’s perspective regarding presiding virtually,” he said. “Attorneys will receive one hour of continuing legal education credit (CLE).”

Participation is free and open to the public. Persons may register via, after which they will receive a confirmation email with their links to join. Questions for the panelists may be submitted to by noon on Friday.

Throughout the pandemic, Senator Zaffirini has devoted every other Wednesday afternoon to connecting with her constituents by hosting Zoom meetings to provide the public with timely and accurate information regarding pressing issues. Recent webinars have covered topics such as school reopening, nursing home visitation, and mental health.

This will be her second Zoom about virtual courtrooms and the first to have a co- sponsor. “Through this partnership we can reach more attorneys and judges who need to need to master these new requirements, techniques and procedures,” Judge Villarreal said.

"With so many aspects of everyday life upended by the pandemic, it's important to have trustworthy, up-to-date information from public officials," Zaffirini said. "These Zooms help Texans get answers and allay their fears."

Beyond biweekly Zoom webinars, the senator also publishes a weekly eNewsletter with extensive information and news updates. Constituents can subscribe via

Constituents requiring assistance with state-related matters may contact Senator Zaffirini's Capitol office via 512/463-0121 or her Laredo office via 956/722-2293. While the senator and her staff are working remotely, their telephones are forwarded to staff members 24/7. Constituents also are welcomed to contact her by email via

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, the second-highest ranking member and highest-ranking woman and Hispanic member of the Texas Senate, will join Judge Victor Villarreal of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas (the co-sponsoring organization) in a Zoom webinar titled "The Pandemic's Permanent Impact on Texas Courtrooms" on Wednesday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m.