Statement from Senator Judith Zaffirini Regarding Blas Martinez

(AUSTIN)— “South Texas has lost a great leader, particularly for higher education. He championed not only our hometown university, Texas A&M International University, and Laredo Community College, but also his alma mater, Texas A&I at Kingsville; A&M Corpus Christi; and other South Texas institutions. He traveled to our State Capitol frequently to testify passionately for higher funding and more programs for our colleges and universities.

A stalwart Democrat and fervent Catholic, he readily expressed his political perspective and deep faith. His family and friends loved him so much because he was so loving. He and Rosina were wonderful role models in many ways, particularly for parents interested in strengthening their families and maintaining strong relationships with their children and grandchildren.”

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Senator Zaffirini Announces New Law Improving Business Incentive Program

(Austin)–A new law authored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, improves
Texas’ incentive program to attract new businesses to the state. SB 2244, effective
Jan. 1, imposes a time limit on the Economic Development and Diversification
Waiver, allowing the governor to offer in-state tuition to immediate family
members of employees as an incentive for businesses to relocate or expand their
operations in Texas.

“The Economic Development and Diversification Waiver Program was established
in 1989 to encourage economic development in Texas and to ease the difficulty of
employee relocation,” said Senator Zaffirini, chair of the Senate Higher Education
Committee. “Establishing an enforceable time limit enables the governor to specify
the time period for which it is intended.”

Sponsored in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, chair of
the House Higher Education Committee, Senator Zaffirini’s SB 2244 specifies a
five-year limit during which employees of qualified businesses may receive
in-state tuition. It also directs the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to
work with the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office to determine
whether a business is eligible for the program and the period during which it is
eligible.

“The waiver program has great potential for helping families and businesses that
relocate to Texas,” Senator Zaffirini said. “I am delighted that this new law will
ensure the program remains an effective tool to promote higher education and
economic development.”

All of the 65 bills passed by Senator Zaffirini in 2009 are now effective.
Information about SB 2244 and other new laws is available via
www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or the Texas Legislative Reference Library,
512/463-1252.
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