Senator Zaffirini Welcomes Students from Mexico and Spain to Texas Capitol

(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today (Wednesday) honored students from Mexico and Spain who attend The University of Texas at Austin (UT) with a reception at the Texas Capitol. Sponsored for the eleventh consecutive year by BBVA Compass Bank, the reception provided students an opportunity to interact with legislators and top-ranking UT officials. “As a lifetime member of the Texas Exes, I am delighted to welcome these students from Mexico and Spain to the Texas Capitol,” Senator Zaffirini said. “By choosing to study at one of the best universities in the United States, they are not  only receiving a world-class education, but also are promoting intercultural exchange and understanding, thereby enhancing the educational experience for all UT students.”

Welcoming the students to the State Capitol were Senator Zaffirini; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of UT System; Bill Powers, UT Austin president; and Joe Petet, BBVA Compass Austin City President. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst also hosted the event in the historic Lieutenant Governor’s Reception Room.

Bibiana Lopez, an undergraduate student from Mexico studying supply chain management, gave the students’ official response by thanking Senator Zaffirini, legislators, UT officials, guests and the event’s sponsors. Antoni Miranda-Aranda, a graduate student from Spain studying technology commercialization, accepted an official Senate proclamation commemorating the event.

Students from Mexico have studied at UT since 1940, and the university’s Graduate School of Business offers joint degree programs with Mexican higher education institutions. More than 500 students from Mexico and 28 students from Spain are enrolled at UT. What’s more, 57 UT students are studying in Mexico, and 271 are studying in Spain, making Spain the top choice for UT students studying abroad.

UT STUDENTS FROM MEXICO AND SPAIN are honored at the eleventh annual reception at the Texas Capitol. Among the hosts and student honorees are (L-R) Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of UT System; Bill Powers, UT-Austin president; Bibiana Lopez from Mexico; Joe Petet, BBVA Compass Austin City President; Antoni Miranda-Aranda from Spain; and Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

Senate Higher Education Committee Assigned Interim Charges

(AUSTIN) —The Senate Higher Education Committee will begin work immediately on a set of interim charges issued by Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, committee Chair Senator Judith Zaffirini announced today.

“I am grateful to Lt. Governor Dewhurst for assigning our committee these critical, timely charges related to higher education in Texas,” Senator Zaffirini said. “They not only reflect the needs and priorities of our state’s colleges and universities, but also are well-aligned with our goals of promoting access, affordability and excellence. Texans can count on our committee to address these charges diligently and thoughtfully. When the next legislative session convenes on Jan. 8, 2013, we will be ready.”

The committee’s charges include:

  • Find ways to enhance financial aid to promote student success.
  • Study and recommend more effective means of using technology in higher education.
  • Analyze developmental education in Texas and identify ways to better prepare students for higher education.
  • Recommend ways to eliminate barriers to non-traditional students, including students with disabilities.
  • Monitor the implementation of legislation passed during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, including Senator Zaffirini’s Senate Bill (SB) 5, which removed burdensome, costly unfunded mandates from higher education institutions and her SB 28, relating to prioritizing TEXAS Grants for high-achieving, low-income students.

“I am delighted that the first charge on the list calls for enhancing financial aid, a lifeline for many students,” Senator Zaffirini said. ” Preserving and improving this lifeline, especially for first generation and self-supporting students and for working families, is among my top priorities.”

The Senate Higher Education Committee maintains an open door policy, and Senator Zaffirini encourages everyone interested in higher education issues to contact the committee via 512/463-4788. The committee’s Vice Chair is Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and other committee members are Senators Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock; Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place; Kirk Watson, D-Austin; Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio; and Royce West, D-Dallas. Additional information regarding the committee’s work is available via its website,

2012 Interim Charges

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI joins Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in attending commencement ceremonies at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. As Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Senator Zaffirini champions legislation and funding that support all Texas colleges and universities.

Court’s Decision Brings New Voters into Senate District 21

(AUSTIN) —After months of legal wrangling, a San Antonio federal district court has finalized new boundaries for state legislative districts, including those of Senate District 21. The judges removed Northeast Bexar, Dimmit, Frio and Zavala counties from SD 21 and adds Caldwell County, Southeast Travis County, Eastern Hays County, part of Southern Bexar County and the majority of Guadalupe County to the district.

“The court’s decision requires me to say goodbye to old friends and say hello to new ones,” Senator Zaffirini said. “I will miss representing the many longtime constituents and friends in the counties that SD 21 lost, but I already am interacting with my new constituents and look forward to working harder than ever on their behalf during the 2013 legislative session.”

When the new district lines take effect in January, 2013, SD 21 will stretch more than 360 miles from Austin to Starr County on the Rio Grande. While the current SD 21 includes all or part of 17 counties, the new district will include all or part of 18. It will include portions of four metropolitan areas, namely Austin, Corpus Christi, Laredo and San Antonio.

Some of the “new” territory isn’t new to Senator Zaffirini. She represented Guadalupe County previously from 1988 to 1992. What’s more, as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, she has worked closely with public higher education institutions that serve Guadalupe, Hays and Travis counties, including Austin Community College, Texas State University-San Marcos and her alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin.

“South and Central Texas are dynamic, diverse regions with much in common,” Senator Zaffirini said. “From our fast-growing cities to our farms and ranches, our needs may differ, but our values are the same: faith, family, hard work and respect. We believe in improving educational opportunities for all and share a strong commitment to our very young and very old.”

Added to SD 21 are 38,066 persons from Caldwell County, 49,858 from Guadalupe County, 48,090 from Hays County and 142,602 from Travis County.

“Even if future court decisions further impact the district lines, I always will cast each vote in the Texas Senate by balancing the interests of SD 21 with those of our great state,” Senator Zaffirini said.

She maintains an open door policy and encourages everyone interested in the legislative process to contact her or her staff via 800/851-1568, [email protected], at her Southern District Office in Laredo (956/722-2293) or at her Northern District Office in San Antonio (210/657-0095). Additional information regarding Senator Zaffirini’s legislation is available via her Senate website,