Committee assignments in the Texas House have not been announced, despite the Legislature being nearly one-fifth of the way through the legislative session.
House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) is responsible for assigning committees for Texas’ biennial legislative session, which runs for 140 days.
Conservative activist Tom Glass noted that of the past few legislative sessions, only in one were committee assignments released later than this session.
In 2017 former House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) released the House committee assignments 31 days into session.
Political strategist and commentator Luke Macias said, “There’s definitely not a rush by any means for the House to begin working.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who serves as president of the Texas Senate, announced the Senate committee assignments on January 23, less than two weeks after the session’s opening day.
At this point, the House had just begun taking committee assignment requests from members.
According to Macias, “The longer you take to appoint [House committees], the longer it takes to organize.”
“The first 30 days of the Legislature is set aside to file bills,” explains Macias. “And then the next 30 days is set aside for committees to take up and consider and hear and take action on those bills. And then at the 60-day mark, the Legislature can take up and consider on the House floor for debate any legislation.”
As the 30-day mark creeps closer, the House has yet to assign committees, and Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to announce the date of his state of the state address—where his emergency priorities are determined. Notably, for the first 60 days of session, only the governor’s priority legislation can be taken up on the House floor for debate—after first going through a yet-to-be-assigned House committee.
Phelan is expected to announce committee assignments for members of the Texas House later this week, and Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to announce a date for the state of the state address for next week.