Ryan Guillen’s 14th Student Legislative Session Reaches New Highs

AUSTIN - The House and Senate Chambers of the Texas Legislature resounded with legislative debate and action this week as over 300 students were invited from 33 South Texas schools as part of the 14th Annual Student Legislative Session (SLS) hosted by Representative Ryan Guillen (D - Rural South Texas).

“When I started this event in 2004 I was looking for a way to inform and inspire our high school students about public service and how their government functions. Over the years it is they who have inspired me with their hard work, their knowledge and insight into complex issues, and with their belief in a better future for all of us,” Guillen said.

Duval County students who attended the event this year included:

Freer High School: Carrie Salinas, Alma Santos, Adrian Campos, Eric Ramirez, Sabrina Morin, Kierstyn Carpenter, Eric Massey, Marc Buhidar.

San Diego High School: Kathleen Saenz, Jeron Adams, Adrian Garza, Cailyn Martinez, Valerie Garcia, Daniel Lichtenberger.

SLS is a day-long legislative session, but it begins over a month in advance.

Over 30 schools accepted Guillen's invitation and nominated over 200 students who then elected a Governor, Lauren Gonzales from Lasara High School, Lieutenant Governor, Robert Moncada from San Diego High School, and Speaker of the House, Randilyn Saenz from Three Rivers High School.

The remaining students were assigned a role as either a Representative, Senator, journalist, or lobbyist and were given real bills from the 85th legislative session to pass on behalf of their school.

On Monday, November 13th, the students arrived at the Capitol and experienced the legislative session like no other students in Texas. They presented their bills in committee hearings, lobbied on behalf of their school, held press conferences, and debated on the floor of the House and Senate. In the end, the students passed two bills that the Governor signed into law.

“Seeing these students on the floor of the House and Senate debating real issues that our state grapples with today, and standing by their side as their passion and strong beliefs clash with other students with other ideas, is among the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Guillen said.

Guillen would like to give special thanks to the House and Senate parliamentarians, Chris Griesel and Karina Davis, and his 20 current and former staff members who helped run the event.