Vol 31, Issue 46 Print Issue

Dewhurst Fills Empty Senate Committee Chairmanships

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst waves after speaking to a crowd on primary election night in Houston.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst waves after speaking to a crowd on primary election night in Houston.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Friday announced a slew of appointments to various Senate committees or boards in advance of the upcoming legislative session.

Many of the spots were previously held by senators not returning to the chamber in 2015. The appointments could be subject to change under Dewhurst’s successor.

The appointments are:

• Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

• Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, as chairman of the Senate Committee on State Affairs

 

• Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce

• Sens. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury; Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; Eltife; Estes; Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; and Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, as members of the Legislative Council

• Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, as co-chair of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Education for a Skilled Workforce, and Sens. Birdwell; Campbell; Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood; Kirk Watson, D-Austin; and Royce West, D-Dallas, as members of the committee

• Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, as a member of the Legislative Audit Committee

• Sens. Eltife and Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, as members of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Commission

• Sen. Estes as a member of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas

• Sens. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Taylor as members of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

A couple of notes: The appointments put an end to rumors, for now, that parts of what is now in the State Affairs, Economic Development and Business & Commerce committees might be combined, and that Fraser was in line for a new chairmanship (he is currently head of Natural Resources).

The assignments also signal Dewhurst's faith that nothing will come of accusations that Taylor improperly tried to pressure TWIA to fight a greater number of insurance claims in order to cut state settlement payments to private lawyers who contribute mostly to Democrats. A court has ordered Taylor to testify about that; Taylor is appealing that ruling.