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Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Texas Senate Committee Chairs

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst announced the appointment of new Senate committee chairs this morning.  Reappointed are:

·         Administration – Sen. Kevin Eltife
·         Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security – Sen. Craig Estes
·         Business & Commerce – Sen. John Carona
·         Criminal Justice – Sen. John Whitmire
·         Natural Resources – Sen. Troy Fraser
·         Veterans Affairs & Military Installations – Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

An appointment and reappointments that were previously announced last month are:

·         Finance – Sen. Tommy Williams
·         Health & Human Services – Sen. Jane Nelson
·         State Affairs – Sen. Robert Duncan

Four committee chairs did not seek reelection, and their replacements are announced as follows:

·         Economic Development – Sen. Bob Deuell replacing the retiring Sen. Mike Jackson
·         Education – Sen. Dan Patrick replacing the retiring Sen. Florence Shapiro
·         Finance (previously announced) – Sen. Tommy Williams replacing the retiring Sen. Steve Ogden
·         Jurisprudence – Sen. Royce West replacing the retiring Sen. Chris Harris

Shifts in committee chairs are:

·         Government Organization – Sen. Judith Zaffirini replacing Sen. Rodney Ellis
·         Higher Education – Sen. Kel Seliger replacing Sen. Zaffirini
·         Intergovernmental Relations – Sen. Juan Hinojosa replacing Sen. West

A new Committee on Open Government was created to work on rewriting appropriate sections of the Open Government laws and increase transparency in state government operations, and Sen. Rodney Ellis was named Chair.

New committee chairs are:

·         Sen. Glenn Hegar as Chair of Nominations
·         Sen. Juan Hinojosa as Chair of Intergovernmental Relations
·         Sen. Robert Nichols as Chair of Transportation, with Homeland Security responsibility being moved to Sen. Craig Estes

·         Sen. Dan Patrick as Chair of Education

Three committees are eliminated:

·         International Relations and Trade previously chaired by Sen. Eddie Lucio
·         Subcommittee on Flooding and Evacuations previously chaired by Sen. Mario Gallegos
·         Select Committee on Redistricting previously chaired by Sen. Seliger

If there was any doubt that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst intends to seek reelection in 2014, it was put to rest by his committee appointments.  According to his press release, realigning the committee appointments will allow “more time to focus on conservative solutions to issues.”  The press release further states that rotating the assignments will require “fresh conservative thinking and conservative solutions.”

Sen. Patrick regularly states that the 83rd Texas Senate, with at least five new members, will be the most conservative in history.  Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has realigned the committees to match that conservative shift.