Tribpedia: Judith Zaffirini

Joseph Seinsheimer, chairman of the Galveston chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, dressed up as a self-proclaimed “bag monster” with dozens of plastic bags wrapped around his upper body. He testified Tuesday against legislation that would would prevent cities from banning plastic bags.
Joseph Seinsheimer, chairman of the Galveston chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, dressed up as a self-proclaimed “bag monster” with dozens of plastic bags wrapped around his upper body. He testified Tuesday against legislation that would would prevent cities from banning plastic bags.

At Capitol, bill targeting plastic bag bans draws strong opposition

Ranchers, city officials and environmentalists testified on Tuesday against a bill that would prevent cities from banning plastic grocery bags or charging a fee for them.

Chairwoman of the state Senate Finance Committee Jane Nelson and state House Appropriations Chairman John Otto.
Chairwoman of the state Senate Finance Committee Jane Nelson and state House Appropriations Chairman John Otto.

Limited Contracting Fixes Moving Forward

Amid a series of scandals, most lawmakers say they want to reform the way Texas hands out billions in state contracts. Discussion has narrowed to a handful of bills that some warn are merely first steps.

 

Dawn Carlton is pushing for a series of bills this legislative session to change the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas.
Dawn Carlton is pushing for a series of bills this legislative session to change the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas.

Guardianship Reform Could Offer New Freedoms

Dawn Carlton is intellectually disabled, but she says she manages fine on her own. The 38-year-old woman is pushing for a series of bills this legislative session to change the way court-appointed guardians are used in Texas.

This is a photo of one of two $2800 chairs ordered by Jack Stick's office when he was deputy inspector general. The chairs which resemble the ones used in the Texas Legislature committee hearing rooms, were discovered after the resignations of Stick, and Doug Wilson, inspector general.
This is a photo of one of two $2800 chairs ordered by Jack Stick's office when he was deputy inspector general. The chairs which resemble the ones used in the Texas Legislature committee hearing rooms, were discovered after the resignations of Stick, and Doug Wilson, inspector general.

The Brief: Feb. 4, 2015

The ability of Austin tech firm 21CT to secure a $20 million Medicaid fraud software contract through a no-bid program run by the state's Department of Information Resources drew intense scrutiny from Senate budget writers on Tuesday.

Jack Stick, the top lawyer for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Jack Stick, the top lawyer for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The Brief: Dec. 18, 2014

The awarding of a no-bid Medicaid fraud detection contract to the 21CT company continues to draw scrutiny with three separate news reports published Wednesday evening.

Timeline: Years of Tension in the UT System

We have updated our timeline on the conflict between the University of Texas System, the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Legislature to include the latest developments, including a new investigation into UT-Austin's admissions process.

Clockwise, from top left: University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall; Gov. Rick Perry; state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; UT System Board Vice Chairman Gene Powell; and UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa.
Clockwise, from top left: University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall; Gov. Rick Perry; state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; UT System Board Vice Chairman Gene Powell; and UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa.

Admissions Investigation Preceded by Years of Tension Tied to Higher Ed

A recent announcement that the University of Texas System will commission an external investigation into the admissions process at the University of Texas at Austin is only the latest chapter in an ongoing, tension-filled saga. 

Clockwise, from top left: State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview; University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers; House Speaker Joe Straus; state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie; and University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall.
Clockwise, from top left: State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview; University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers; House Speaker Joe Straus; state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie; and University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall.

Admissions Inquiry Takes Center Stage in UT Saga

Of University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall’s allegations of misconduct at UT-Austin, none has gained as much traction as his assertion that there is "secret favoritism" for the politically connected in admissions.

Gov. Rick Perry, r, with Presidents Dr. Juliet Garcia and Dr. Robert Nelsen at the ceremony at the former UT-Pan Am in Edinburg, TX on July 16, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry, r, with Presidents Dr. Juliet Garcia and Dr. Robert Nelsen at the ceremony at the former UT-Pan Am in Edinburg, TX on July 16, 2013.

In Rio Grande Valley, Perry Signs South Texas University Bill

In two emotional events Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed a bill that will create a new university in the Rio Grande Valley. He also addressed demands to add bonds for campus construction to the special session agenda.

State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.
State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.

Slideshow: Sen. John Carona Through the Years

Take a photographic trip through Sen. John Carona's career in the Texas Legislature, from his swearing in as a freshman House member in 1991 to his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Committee on Business & Commerce.  

Sen. Judith Zaffirini D-Laredo, peeks over stack of binders at her desk during discussion of budget bill SB1 on March 20th, 2013
Sen. Judith Zaffirini D-Laredo, peeks over stack of binders at her desk during discussion of budget bill SB1 on March 20th, 2013

Legislator: Regent Behavior "Inconsistent" With Statute

The Texas Education Code lays out the state's expectations for regents of public university systems, and state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is now questioning whether the University of Texas System board is living up to them.

State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas,l, and State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, shake hands upon convening the Joint Committee on Higher Education Oversight on March 19, 2013.
State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas,l, and State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, shake hands upon convening the Joint Committee on Higher Education Oversight on March 19, 2013.

Updated: Panel Discusses UT System Records Request

Sen. Kel Seliger, who co-chairs the Legislature's joint higher education oversight committee, said UT regents should have access to the information they have requested, but the committee wants to make sure it is being gathered and used appropriately.

Jeanne Brown, whose daughter Alex Brown died in a 2009 accident while texting and driving, spoke Jan. 29, 2013, in support of a bill making texting and driving illegal. Texas is one of 11 states without a state-wide ban on texting while driving, though multiple cities have passed ordinances making it illegal.
Jeanne Brown, whose daughter Alex Brown died in a 2009 accident while texting and driving, spoke Jan. 29, 2013, in support of a bill making texting and driving illegal. Texas is one of 11 states without a state-wide ban on texting while driving, though multiple cities have passed ordinances making it illegal.

Lawmakers Renew Push to Ban Texting While Driving

At a briefing Tuesday, lawmakers and relatives of people killed while texting and driving renewed a push to make the practice illegal. A proposal passed during the last session but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.