4th Special Session begins
By DS Gands
Apr 21, 2004
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On the morning of April 20th, gallery attendees, guests, and Webcast viewers awaited the opening of the 4th Special Session of the Texas 78th Legislative Session in both the House and the Senate Chambers.  They began at approximately 10:26 a.m., with roll calls and recognition of quorums.


Senator Craig Estes
In the Senate Chamber, the President of the Senate, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, announced the member giving the Invocation.  Senator Craig Estes gave a beautiful prayer asking for ‘wise and wonderful’ things from this legislative body as it contemplates issues affecting ‘our children and grandchildren’.


Dewhurst immediately presented S.C.R. 1 for consideration on the floor, establishing that this resolution was to allow for a period of at least three days recession for the committees and the members to consider their work and to allow for the House to do the same.  The motion passed without objection.


Senate Resolution 1 by Sen. Whitmire was introduced as the ‘Caucus Resolution’, and the Dean of the Senate explained that this was a resolution regarding operation and budget of the Senate with one significant change.  Walter Fisher, the Senate Parliamentarian, is no longer with the Senate, and the measure nominated Corina Cusari for the position.  Senator Barrientos was recognized and rose to ask, in Spanish, if the nominee could speak Spanish.  He was answered by Lt. Governor Dewhurst in Spanish – ‘Si.’  The resolution passed without objection.


Senate Bill 7 by Harris regarding Parks issues, and Senate Joint Resolution 4 by Senator Harris regarding historical places were introduced and sent to Committee on Administration.  These pieces of legislation were identified by Dewhurst as the ‘blocker bills’. 


Senator Zaffirini recognized the high school students attending from Poteet High School,  Senator Ogden introduced the Doctor of the Day, Dr. Ronald Onlee from Houston, followed by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst recognizing that a freshman Senator had his light on.  The freshman Senator announced that it was an equipment malfunction.   There was a bit of a chuckle as senior senators remembered their freshman years.


Senate Chamber
Motion by the Dean of the Senate was made followed by the appointment of the committees to the Governor and the House to be dispatched for announcement that the Senate was organized and prepared to do business.  The Senate stood at ease beginning at 10:50 a.m. while the announcement committees performed their duties.


At 10:53 a.m. in the House of Representatives, the resolution introduced and passed without objection for the recession, which was immediately followed by the announcement that the House would stand in recess until 10 a.m. on April 27th.


The Senate re-convened  at 10:59 a.m., and the House passage of the resolution for recession was announced on the Senate Floor.  Senator Nelson, President Pro Tempore, was recognized and nominated Senator Jeff Wentworth, former Chairman of the Redistricting Committee and current Chairman of Jurisprudence, for the position of President Pro Tempore.  Nine Republicans and ten Democrats rose over a period of approximately 53 minutes to second the nomination of Senator Wentworth, and the nomination passed without objection.


Following the swearing in ceremony and  speech by Senator Wentworth, Senator Harris made a motion for the Committee on Administration to meet at his desk immediately following adjournment, and the Finance Committee meeting was announced for Monday, April 26th.


At 12:07 p.m., April 20, 2004, the Texas Senate stands in recess until 2 p.m. on April 27, 2004.


The feeling is that the sessions will be extended and called until school finance is resolved.  Senator Brimer or Tarrant County eluded to the possibility in his seconding of the nomination of Senator Wentworth.  It looks to be a long, heated summer in Texas.


Senate Bills and Resolutions with actions on April 20, 2004:


CSR 1 – Whitmire – Reported Enrolled

Granting the legislature permission to adjourn for more than three days during the period beginning on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, and ending on Tuesday, April 27, 2004.

Subject:        Resolutions—Adjournment


SR 1 – Whitmire - 04/20/2004 S Reported enrolled

Senate Caucus Report.





SB 7 – HARRIS - Introduced   04/20/2004 S Referred to Administration

Relating to the creation, purpose, implementation, and funding of the County Park Beautification and Improvement Program.

Subject:        County Government—General

Parks & Wildlife—General



SJR 4 – HARRIS - Introduced   04/20/2004 S Referred to Administration

Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to appropriations for the preservation and perpetuation of certain items of historical value; allowing the legislature and state agencies to accept on behalf of the state gifts of items of historical value and contributions to purchase such items.

Subject:        Historic Preservation & Museums    

Resolutions--Constitutional Amendments


Senate filings or no information available:


SB 1 through 5 and 8 -  Legislative Session: 78(4)

This is not a valid bill or no information currently exist.


SB 6 – SHAPLEIGH – Filed 4/16/04

Relating to the use of federal estate tax provisions in determining the application of the Texas estate tax to certain transfers of property.

Subject:        Probate--Wills & Admin of Estates


SJR  1 through 3 - Legislative Session: 78(4)

This is not a valid bill or no information currently exist.


SJR 5 - Legislative Session: 78(4)

Council Document: 78S4 00140

Introduced   04/19/2004 S Filed

Proposing a constitutional amendment to require a house or committee of the legislature to take a record vote on certain legislative measures and actions.

Author:         Carona

Subjects:      Legislature
Resolutions--Constitutional Amendments


 House Bills and filings