Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate are moving quickly, announcing committee assignments less than two weeks since the start of the legislative session.
Of the chamber’s 16 committees, only one will be chaired by a Democrat. Patrick previously stated in an interview on the Mark Davis radio show last month that he would keep Democrat State Sen. John Whitmire (Houston) as chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice. Whitmire has announced that he will be resigning his position following the session to mount a campaign for Houston mayor in November.
Patrick added that the chamber would have zero Democrat chairs following Whitmire’s departure.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe) is in charge of the consolidated Education Committee, which will oversee public education as well as higher education. State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) will oversee the the Committee on Health and Human Services. State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston) will continue to chair the Finance Committee, which drafts the chamber’s budget.
Patrick says the appointments will help ensure conservative priorities are passed in the Senate.
“As the Texas Senate begins its work this session, the committee assignments I made today will ensure we succeed in addressing the priorities of the people of Texas,” said Patrick.
“The overwhelming majority of bills voted on by the chamber will have bipartisan support. But make no mistake, the priority bills will address the concerns of the conservative majority in Texas,” he added.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi says the party is encouraged by the appointments.
“We are very happy to see Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is making conservative committee appointments across the board to ensure that the Senate will pass every Republican legislative priority this session,” said Rinaldi.
Committee appointments in the House, meanwhile, are expected to be announced by Speaker Dade Phelan within the next few weeks.