Vol 32, Issue 4 Print Issue

Committee Breakdowns: Texas Senate

We take a look this week at how the newly formed Senate committees stack up by party ID and by gender. Women are significantly underrepresented on the Administration, Nominations and Finance committees. And in the most extreme example, there is not a single woman on the Business and Commerce Committee.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The judge hearing the criminal case against Rick Perry on charges related to his threat to veto funding for the Travis County DA's public integrity unit refused to dismiss the charges outright. But the judge also suggested that one count was vague, raising the possibility of another challenge by Perry's legal team.

The Senate released is $205.1 billion base budget, which includes $4 billion set aside for tax relief. About $3 billion was identified for "meaningful" property tax cuts.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seemed to change course during the week on whether open carry legislation would make it to the floor of the Senate. On Tuesday, he said the votes weren't there. But a day later, he said progress on a campus carry bill would let him focus on open carry, "which I have consistently supported."

University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven weighed in on the campus carry debate on Thursday, saying in a letter to legislative leaders that allowing concealed weapons on campus would create "less safe" environments.

Political People and their Moves

Hadassah Schloss was appointed to the newly created job of director of open government at the Texas General Land Office. This is a promotion for Schloss, who was serving as GLO Open Records Coordinator. She previously was at the Office of the Attorney General, where she handled a wide array of open records duties.

HHSC Deputy Chief Counsel Karen Ray is now interim chief counsel for the agency, replacing Jack Stick, who resigned in December.

The Travis County DA's public integrity unit won't prosecute Attorney General Ken Paxton. The unit had conducted an investigation keying off Paxton's violation of state securities laws but found no "additional criminal activity over which our office has venue." It forwarded a portion of its investigation to prosecutors in Collin and Dallas counties.

Two Republicans — Carolyn Cerny Bilski and Leighton Schubert — will compete Feb. 17 in the special runoff election in HD-13. Early voting runs Feb. 9-13. Gov. Greg Abbott announced the date this week, which coincides with three other runoff elections in SD-26, HD-17 and HD-123.

Disclosure: The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. The Texas General Land Office was a corporate sponsor of the Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.