FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2003
AUSTIN, TX--Today the Texas Senate honored state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) by selecting him the next President Pro Tempore, which also marks the first day of the 78th legislative session of the state.
"I am honored and humbled that my colleagues voted for me and saluted me as the Senate's next president pro tempore," said the Senator, who will also have the distinction of serving as Governor for a Day on May 3, 2003, when the Governor and Lieutenant Governor will be unavailable in the state.
Selection of each president pro tem is by seniority, and Sen. Lucio has served 12 years in the Senate and four in the House of Representatives. In order of seniority, Sen. Lucio ranks ninth. Of the senators in office, eight have been voted president pro tempore aside from Sen. Lucio.
State Sen. Frank Madla (D-San Antonio), remarked, "But as proud as I am to stand before you and tell you of Sen. Lucio's virtues, I can only think of how proud his parents must be of their son's accomplishments."
Looking forward to session, Sen. Lucio said, "This day and this entire session will be one of my most memorable as I become a part of this great tradition."
He also stated, "Our priorities and our hearts are with the people of Texas, especially the children, who need our help with their education and the elderly, who depend on programs to maintain their quality of life and their dignity. No one should die because he or she cannot afford to live. We will not let them down!"
State Sen. Chris Harris (R-Arlington), who made the nomination on the Senate floor, offered, "I cannot stress enough how important it is to me to be able to call Eddie Lucio a friend and confidant. He is one of the finest men I have ever had the honor of knowing."
"Eddie loves his district and he loves this state. When an issue is before us on the Senate floor, the argument most persuasive for Senator Lucio is that this is the right thing to do for Texas," added state Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan).
- The first Senate president pro tempore was Edward Burleson from Bastrop during the first Legislature in 1846.
- The main function of the president pro tempore is to perform the duties of the lieutenant governor in any case of absence or disability of the lieutenant governor.
- If the office of the lieutenant governor becomes vacant, the president pro tempore shall convene the Committee of the Whole Senate within 30 days after the vacancy.
- During this time the Committee of the Whole will elect a member to perform the duties of the lieutenant governor.
- Until this happens, the president pro tempore shall perform those duties.
- The president pro tempore or the speaker may act as governor if that person holds that office when the governor and lieutenant governor first become unavailable
- The president pro tempore of the Senate shall, during the time that officer exercises the powers and authority pertaining to the office of governor, receive the same compensation which the governor would have received had the governor been employed in the duties of that office.
NOTE: The commemorative ceremonies honoring the governor for a day are held in the State Capitol in Austin.