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Sen. Hinojosa, Sen. LaMantia draw two-year terms instead of usual four-year terms as the result of requirement by the Texas Constitution - Sen. LaMantia - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED: First-time Sen. Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre Island, poses in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Friday, December 2, 2022. The state lawmaker was participating in the New Member Orientation. The 88th Texas Legislature began its 140-day regular session on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.



Sen. Hinojosa, Sen. LaMantia draw two-year terms instead of usual four-year terms as the result of requirement by the Texas Constitution

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Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Sen. Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre Island, will be up for reelection in two years as a result of a required lottery involving all 31 members of the Senate that took place on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at the Texas Capitol.

Only Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo/Starr County – the Rio Grande Valley’s third state senator – drew a lot that gave her a four-year term.

Every 10 years, state senators are required to draw lots to see who receives a two-year term or a four-year term.

Late Thursday evening, January 12, 2023, Hinojosa reacted to drawing a two-year term.

“By drawing a two-year term, I look forward to the opportunity for reelection next year. I will work tirelessly this session to continue addressing the issues that are a priority for our families, the business community, and that improve our quality-of-life and the Texas economy,” Hinojosa said. “I will do so by focusing on bread and butter issues such as education, health care, inflation, job training, and investing in infrastructure.”

As of late Thursday evening, January 12, 2023, LaMantia had not yet issued her reaction on her Facebook page or Senate website.

The previous day, Hinojosa noted that the Texas Legislature currently has a $32.7 billion budget surplus to help tackle those and other priorities for the state.

“I am energized, focused, and look forward to continue working for our families, our communities, and all Texans,” the Senate District 20 lawmaker said. “We have 140 days to focus on addressing critical issues like border security, property taxes, affordable health care, education, workforce training, transportation, expanding broadband access, flood mitigation, power grid reliability, and human trafficking.”

“A four-year term!” Zaffirini announced on her Facebook on Thursday, January 12, 2023. “This gives me the opportunity to concentrate on the families of our district without also running a campaign.”

The state senators drew in alphabetical order for two- or four-year terms, “which was required after we all ran in 2022 based on the redistricting map adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2021,” she explained. “Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and I were the last two, and when he went up to draw, we were down to one two-year term and one four-year term. He drew a two, and I was delighted.”

Redistricting is the process by which the geographical divisions of the state into congressional, state representative, state senator, and State Board of Education electoral districts are periodically revised. District boundaries are redrawn every 10 years following the publication of the U.S. Census to maintain approximately equal populations across all electoral districts in the state.

As a required by the Texas Constitution, every 10 years, all senators must draw a lot to determine if they will have a two-year term or a four-year term. 

“The practice is outlined in Article 4, Section 3, of the Texas Constitution, which calls for ‘Senators elected after each apportionment (redistricting)’ to be divided into two classes: one that will serve a four-year terms and the other to serve a two-year term. That keeps the Senate district elections staggered every two yers. After that, senators served four-year terms for the rest of the decade,” James Barragán reported for The Texas Tribune.

Barragán is a politics reporter for The Texas Tribune with a focus on accountability reporting. Prior to joining the Tribune, he worked as a statehouse reporter for The Dallas Morning News and had previous stints at the Austin American-Statesman and The Los Angeles Times. In 2021, he was a finalist for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Local Reporting for his coverage of Texas politics during COVID-19. A Southern California native, he received his bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA.

On Monday, January 9, 2023, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released his biennial revenue estimate for the state budget, showing the state is projected to have a record $188.2 billion in revenue available for general-purpose spending during the 2024-25 biennium, a 26.3 percent increase from the 2022-23 biennium.

Hegar said the increase is a direct result of vigorous economic growth since the end of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, spikes in energy prices and, unfortunately, the highest rate of general price inflation in 40 years.

“With the $32.7 billion surplus Comptroller Hegar announced, we not only have an incredible opportunity not only fund the state’s needs, but also make significant investments that will further strengthen the state’s needs,” Hinojosa predicted. “This includes reducing high property taxes, increasing the salaries for our state employees and our teachers, and investing in our infrastructure. The investments will have long-term benefits for all Texas families.”

Zaffirini’s Senate District 21 has all of Caldwell, Dimmit, Duval, Jim Hogg, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, Starr, Webb, and Wilson counties, along with portions of Hays (69 percent), Travis (16 percent), Guadalupe (13 percent), and Bexar (one percent) counties.

Hinojosa’s Senate District 20 includes all of Brooks, Jim Wells counties, Nueces County (81 percent), and western and central Hidalgo County (68 percent).

LaMantia’s Senate District 27 features all of Bee, Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, San Patricio, and Willacy counties, eastern Hidalgo County (32 percent), and Nueces County (19 percent).

Sen. Zaffirini in position to increase her place in history of passing most legislative measures in the Texas Legislature

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, who was sworn-in on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 for a new four-year term representing Senate District 21, which includes all or part of 16 counties – with all of Starr County – is set this year to build on her lead as passing the most legislative measures in the history of the Texas Legislature.

She is known for her 100 percent voting record in the Texas Senate, where she has cast 67,923 consecutive votes. 

In the 2021 Republican-dominated Texas Legislature, she passed more bills than any other legislator for the fourth consecutive session, a total of 106. 

In fact, she has passed more bills than any other legislator in the history of the state. 

A bill is a type of legislative measure that requires passage by both chambers of the legislature and action by the governor in order to become effective. A bill is the primary means used to create and change the laws of the state. 

First elected in 1986, Zaffirini has received more than 1,000 awards and honors for her legislative, public service, and professional work. 

During the 88th Texas Legislature’s regular session, lawmakers will debate pressing issues that impact all Texans such as property tax relief, electric grid reliability and border security.

“My staff and I will continue to work with constituents, stakeholders, and my legislative colleagues during the next 140 days to pass legislation providing quality educational opportunities for our children, investing in infrastructure and transportation, creating jobs and strengthening the economy, conserving our environment, ensuring more affordable health care and increasing access to justice,” Zaffirini said. 

As of Monday, January 9, 2023, Zaffirini had prefiled 56 bills for the 2023 session, including measures that would allow power companies to connect to the national grid; provide a one-time, 10 percent cost of living adjustment with annual increases based on inflation for retired teachers and expand Medicaid services to persons earning at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $38,295 annually or $3,191.25 monthly for a family of four). 

Prefiled means the introduction into the Texas Legislature of bills and other proposed legislation that has been given a number before the convening of a legislative session, which this year began on Tuesday, January 10.

Legislation is a proposed or enacted law or group of laws.

Zaffirini maintains an open door policy. Constituents may contact her or her staff, especially regarding their perspectives about legislation, via [email protected] and her district office (956/722-2293) or her Capitol office (512/463-0121).


Peyton Strauss contributed to this article For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (

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