legislation passed Monday night that might help ease the pain for a Texas State student still in mourning.
The piece of emergency legislation entitled “Samantha’s Bill” required the senate’s full support and endorsement of Josefina Ibarra’s petition by installing their signature on the document.
Josephina Ibarra, whose sister Samantha died in an automobile accident Jan. 9, started a petition calling for a left-hand turn lane be put on Highway 123. Having the turn lane could have prevented her sister’s car accident, she said.
“What we are saying is that we are not going to lose any more students to Highway 123,” said Sen. Tommy Luna, who authored the bill. “The rebuttal to any kind of movements on Highway 123 has been money. We cannot put a price on life. It has taken 16 people, including a sister of someone who attends the university.”
According to the legislation, Ibarra, as well as residents living in the area, believe turning lanes and road divisions are necessary for the safety of the motorists.
Ibarra began the petition to address the problem to the Texas Department of Transportation, county commissioners and Texas Sen. Jeff Wentworth (D-45). Effective petitions, especially those affecting university students and Hays County citizens, require the most support possible, according to the legislation.
Luna said the required support is something the senate can do to help ensure student lives are not taken. The effect ASG has on the university extends beyond the county and beyond the state, he said.
“She (Ibarra) can go into these meetings with commissioners and with senator with the backing of the student senators,” Luna said. “We are the voice of Texas State.”
Sen. Jon Riggs said Ibarra has “managed to stay upbeat” throughout the process.
“As a fellow Bobcat, we should all be extremely proud of what she has done about this.” Riggs said. “In ASG, we speak for the students, but right now, she has taken on the responsibility of speaking for students, and the people living in San Marcos. She really worked hard and has been so passionate about this.”
Chris Covo, ASG executive assistant, said he supports the legislation.
“Some senators were not fully informed of what was going on,” Covo said. “When they realized what they could possibly do to help this girl, they jumped in and did it.”
Ibarra, whose eyes welled up with tears after the meeting, said she is glad to know Texas State students are in the battle with her. Senators came to sign the petition and offered to see what they could do for her from the beginning, she said.
“As of right now, we are going to e-mail the signatures that we do have,” Ibarra said. “We still have online signing going on as well.”
The petition has more than 2,000 signatures and will be sent to Wentworth within the coming week.