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FROM THE DESK OF SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI
The Senate Committee to Protect All Texans, of which Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is a member, heard 19 hours of testimony from experts, leaders and advocates last week, who shared their perspectives about making Texas schools and communities safer.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed the 11-member committee that met in the Senate chamber on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21-22. He charged them to focus on school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety.
After the horrific massacre of 19 children and two teachers by a shooter at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Gov. Greg Abbott requested legislative committees be named to make recommendations.
“We have to take action,” Sen. Zaffirini told the committee. “Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, but they’re not enough. Actions speak louder than words.”
The committee’s next steps include analyzing oral and written testimony gathered during these hearings and making recommendations for the Legislature’s consideration. Its next regular session convenes on Jan. 10.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our children, teachers and communities safe,” Sen. Zaffirini said. “These hearings are critical to ensure transparency, accountability and adequate funding to strengthen school security and expand mental health services.”
She joins 12 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in urging Gov. Abbott to convene the Legislature for a special session to implement solutions before the 2022-23 school year begins in August. The caucus is calling for red flag laws, a mandatory 24-hour “cooling-off” period, universal background checks, raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21 and regulating high-capacity magazines for citizens.
“These measures would improve public safety without compromising the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Sen. Zaffirini said. “Bipartisan collaboration and compromise would keep all Texans safe.”