With committee assignments now released for the 86th Texas Legislature, Montgomery County’s legislative delegation fared well, with lawmakers appointed to major chairmanships in the Texas Senate and the county’s House delegation tapped to sit on key committees.
On Wednesday, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) officially appointed House committees, a move substantially earlier than his predecessor, Joe Straus. Bonnen’s announcement comes less than a week after Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released his list of Senate committees.
Montgomery County taxpayers will have two seats on the powerful budget writing Appropriations Committee with State Reps. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) and Steve Toth (R-Conroe). And Montgomery County citizens also gained a seat on the critical Calendars Committee, with State Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Montgomery) tapped to serve on the committee through which almost all legislation must flow.
Metcalf was also appointed Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, a position from which he should be able to address local citizens’ groundwater issues. Legislation related to reforms by the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation district will likely pass through this committee.
Metcalf will also serve on the International Relations and Economic Development Committee. Bell will also serve on the Land and Resource Management Committee. Toth was appointed to the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee, a post he had requested due to The Woodlands’ growing status as a tourist destination.
On the other side of the Capitol, both of Montgomery County’s senators will be chairing committees.
State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) will continue to chair the Transportation Committee, and State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) will chair the Higher Education Committee. Creighton will also serve as Vice-Chair of Water and Rural Affairs.
The appointments are a substantial upgrade from the last session, where not a single Montgomery County representative served on the most powerful House Committees. They now serve on two: Appropriations and Calendars. And Creighton’s appointment to Higher Education also means county taxpayers gain a chairmanship.
The county’s delegation is well positioned going into the next session. Now it will be up to the members themselves to use their positions to deliver on the conservative priorities they promised the voters.