On election day, lawmakers were issued a mandate to legislate conservatively. In Texas, public policy starts with the committee chairs. We thought the average score of Speaker Joe Straus’ chairs would go up, since some of the chairs had been held by liberal Democrats who lost. Actually, their average went down.

(We’ve preciously written about Mr. Straus’ appointee scores were more liberal than his predecessor.)

Speaker Straus has policy baggage — an average score of 53% on the Fiscal Responsibility Index for his surviving Chairmen.

That is a point lower than before Mr. Straus lost 4 of his Democrat Chairmen on Tuesday and 5 Republicans and about 30 points lower than the average score last session for Republicans.

Much is made of the slimmed-down partisan margin in the Texas House, between 2007 and 2009. But the 2009 House had a more fiscally responsible record on average than the 2007 House. So while the House average improved from 2007 to 2007, the committee chair average worsened.

Here’s a chart comparing the standing committee chairmen from the last two legislative sessions.


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