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April 23, 2007

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330, kfortune@law.utexas.edu

Texas Senate Commends Legislative Internship Program

Group photo of students from the Legislative Internship Program
Shortly after passage of Resolution Number 775, which recognized the Legislative Internship Program, Senator Judith Zaffirini (left) stood with students Casey Kaplan, Victor Obaseki, Iman Houston, and Hillary Aldama, as well as Dean Larry Sager and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, on the floor of the Texas Senate.

The Texas Senate honored The University of Texas School of Law’s Legislative Internship Program, adopting Senate Resolution No. 775 on April 18, 2007. Senator Judith Zaffirini, the resolution’s author, also introduced Dean Larry Sager and four students in the program on the Senate floor.

The Resolution commends the Law School for allowing student interns to “gain firsthand knowledge of the governmental process and insight into the issues facing our communities and our state.” Senators Kirk Watson, Jeff Wentworth, and Royce West spoke in support of the Resolution following Senator Zaffirini’s comments.

The Legislative Internship Program provides an opportunity for law students to work on legal issues in the Texas Legislature for academic credit. Students learn about the legislative process working under the supervision of experienced legislative attorneys, and participate in classes that examine the role of lawyers in the legislature.

Senator Zaffirini and UT Law Professor Eden Harrington initiated the internship course during the 2005 regular legislative session. This spring, twenty-eight law students have participated in the program. One student interned in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, eighteen students in the Texas Senate with ten senators and four committees, seven students in the Texas House with the Speaker of the House and six representatives, and two students have interned with Texas Legislative Council.


Following the Resolution’s passage, Victor Obaseki shook hands with Senator Zaffirini, while UT Law students and Dean Sager met members of the Texas Senate.

UT Law has a long tradition of offering academic courses that draw on its proximity to the Capitol. Professor Jack Sampson has taught “Legislative Process,” a research and writing seminar designed for students with extensive legislative experience, since 1971. His students have gone on to serve in both the Texas House and Senate. In addition, Senator Buster Brown has taught “Texas Legislature: Process and Procedure” since 1994.

After the ceremonies on the Senate floor introducing the Resolution, Senator Zaffirini hosted a reception at the Capitol in honor of the UT Law interns and their supervisors and students enrolled in the Legislative Process class. Speakers at the reception included Dean Larry Sager and UT Austin President Bill Powers. Guests included Senators, Representatives, and UT System Regent Cyndi Taylor Krier. James R. Huffines, chair of the UT System Board of Regents, co-hosted the reception.

Related Links:

Senate Resolution No. 775:
http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/doc/SR00775F.doc

UT Law Legislative Internship Program:
http://www.utlawjusticecenter.org/legintern/