House Speaker Joe Straus Names Committees

House Speaker Joe  Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-Alamo Heights, in January 2011.

Speaker Joe Straus appointed members to committees today, shuffling the assignments in a Texas House where one in four members is a freshman and where Republicans have a two-to-one numerical advantage.

With the panels named, he can start assigning legislation to various committees for consideration, and that will get under way quickly, with the House Appropriations Committee diving into the budget this week.

Straus had several openings to fill, with members either retiring or getting beat and leaving chairmanships open: Calendars; Corrections; Culture, Recreation and Tourism; Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Human Services; Licensing & Administrative Procedures; Public Safety; Redistricting; and the House Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding.

Calendars sets the House's agenda — what bills come up. Licensing is the committee where most gaming legislation is handled. Redistricting, within the political microclimate of the Legislature, is a very important panel.

If you don't count subcommittees, the House had 35 committees, with 19 chaired by Republicans and 16 by Democrats. That was in a House with 76 Republicans and 74 Democrats.

Now there are 101 Republicans, and 49 Democrats, and the politics are decidedly different.

The committee assignments are attached; here's a list of the new chairs:

Committee Representative Party City
Agriculture &Livestock Rick Hardcastle R Vernon
Appropriations Jim Pitts R Waxahachie
Border &Intergovernmental Affairs Veronica Gonzales D McAllen
Business &Industry Joe Deshotel D Beaumont
Calendars Todd Hunter R Corpus Christi
Corrections Jerry Madden R Richardson
County Affairs Garnet Coleman D Houston
Criminal Jurisprudence Pete Gallego D Alpine
Culture, Recreation &Tourism Ryan Guillen D Rio Grande City
Defense &Veterans' Affairs Joe Pickett D El Paso
Economic &Small Business Development John Davis R Houston
Elections Larry Taylor R Friendswood
Energy Resources Jim Keffer R Eastland
Environmental Regulation Wayne Smith R Baytown
General Investigating &Ethics Chuck Hopson R Jacksonville
Government Efficiency &Reform William Bill Callegari R Katy
Higher Education Dan Branch R Dallas
Homeland Security &Public Safety Sid Miller R Stephenville
House Administration Charlie Geren R Fort Worth
Human Services Richard Peña Raymond D Laredo
Insurance John Smithee R Amarillo
Judiciary &Civil Jurisprudence Jim Jackson R Carrollton
Land &Resource Management Rene Oliveira D Brownsville
Licensing &Administrative Procedures Mike Hamilton R Mauriceville
Local &Consent Calendars Senfronia Thompson D Houston
Natural Resources Allan Ritter R Nederland
Pensions, Investments &Financial Services Vicki Truitt R Keller
Public Education Rob Eissler R The Woodlands
Public Health Lois Kolkhorst R Brenham
Redistricting Burt Solomons R Carrollton
Rules &Resolutions Ruth Jones McClendon D San Antonio
State Affairs Byron Cook R Corsicana
Technology Aaron Peña R Edinburg
Transportation Larry Phillips R Sherman
Urban Affairs Harold Dutton Jr D Houston
Ways &Means Harvey Hilderbran R Kerrville
Select Committee on State Sovereignty Brandon Creighton R Conroe
Select Committee on Voter Identification and Voter Fraud Dennis Bonnen R Angleton
Select Committee on Election Contest Todd Hunter R Corpus Christi
Select Committee on Oversight and HHS Eligibility System Fred Brown R College Station

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