The new speaker's first bit of danger is out of the way, with House members on their way home for a long weekend to mull their committee assignments and to consider the difference between what they hoped for and what they got.
In early returns, Joe Straus got out of it alive. In a House with a two-vote difference in the strength of the parties, that's probably a win. By his numbers, the chairmanships of the 34 committees are divided 18-16 in favor of the Republicans and 15 of the chairs are in that position for the first time in their legislative careers. There are fewer Republican chairs and more Democrats, more African-Americans (5) and Hispanics (4) than two years ago, and the same number of women (7). The number of urban chairs fell by two, while the number of rural chairs fell by four; that balance is now 23 urban, 11 rural, according to Straus' count. The lists, by member and by committee, are at the end of the newsletter.
This popped the cork on the session, on the House side. The budget-writing Appropriations Committee held its first meeting before members were out of town. Bills are already being referred to other panels, and the House will be in full gear next week, a month into the session.
Some winners, some losers in House committee assignments.
Joe Straus got his job after a Friday evening meeting at Byron Cook's house on Polo Road in Austin at the beginning of the year. The eleven Republicans there picked him as their sole candidate against Speaker Tom Craddick. The Democrats joined in the next day. Craddick folded that weekend. A short-lived effort to substitute John Smithee of Amarillo as the new speaker was, well, short-lived. And Straus started the next week with the announcement that he was the new sheriff.
In his committee assignments, the Polo Road Gang collected their booty. In the currency of the Texas House, they're rich. All of them chair committees, including the most powerful panels on their end of the building: Appropriations (Jim Pitts, Waxahachie), Calendars (Brian McCall, Plano), State Affairs (Burt Solomons, Carrollton), House Administration (Charlie Geren, Fort Worth), Public Education (Rob Eissler, The Woodlands), Redistricting (Delwin Jones, Lubbock), Licensing & Administrative Procedures (Edmund Kuempel, Seguin), Environmental Regulation (Cook, Corsicana), Energy Resources (Jim Keffer, Eastland), and Public Safety (Tommy Merritt, Longview).
Five of the PRG are on four committees each. Six are on the agenda-setting Calendars panel. Two other Republicans who joined early enough to be on Straus' first list — Dan Branch of Dallas and Todd Smith of Euless — are chairs now, too.
On the other side of the court, the three Democrats who got most of the credit/blame for antagonizing Craddick and engineering his downfall — Jim Dunnam of Waco, Pete Gallego of Alpine, and Garnet Coleman of Houston — got leftovers. Gallego and Coleman are both chairmen and got pretty good assignments: Gallego on State Affairs and General Investigating & Ethics, Coleman on Calendars and Public Health. Dunnam, the leader of that bunch, will chair a special committee on the federal stimulus package and got spots on Transportation and Environmental Regulation. Craddick, by way of comparison, got on the State Affairs and Energy Resources panels.
Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, is the House's new speaker pro tempore, a largely honorary gig, but also will be on Appropriations and Insurance.
A couple of members shared in the spoils even though they weren't in either group. The big surprise on the list is Rep. Brandon Creighton, a sophomore Republican from Conroe whose lottery winnings includes spots on Appropriations, Calendars, General Investigating & Ethics, and Natural Resources. Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, will chair the Public Health panel and also sit on Calendars and Corrections. They must know somebody.
It didn't hurt at all to be a member of the San Antonio delegation, or from any of the counties and towns in the general vicinity of San Antonio. Frank Corte is a chairman. El Paso's delegation — with Democrat Joe Pickett chairing Transportation and Norma Chavez on both Appropriations and Calendars, has more juice than before, even with two freshmen in the group.
And being a freshman didn't necessarily hurt. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, made it onto Appropriations, House Administration, and Natural Resources. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson, also got on Appropriations. Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, is on State Affairs. And here's an oddity: Freshman Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball, made it on to Urban Affairs — as a "seniority appointment."
The rural WD-40s (White Democrats over 40) — fared pretty well in Straus' freshman effort. Mark Homer of Paris, Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville, Jim McReynolds of Lufkin, and Allan Ritter of Nederland are all chairmen this time. In order: Culture, Recreation & Tourism; General Investigating & Ethics; Corrections; and Natural Resources.
Finally, two former members are back in the House. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, will chair Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. It probably didn't hurt that his old deskmate, Clyde Alexander, is now the speaker's chief of staff. Al Edwards, D-Houston, got a spot on Appropriations.
The House rules bar the chairmen of Appropriations and State Affairs from serving on substantive committees — not all of the members on those panels. Other than those two chairs, everybody on the House serves on two substantive committees. Who serves on the procedural committees — Calendars, Administration, etc. — is up to the speaker. A smart reader who called to clarify last week's murk on this subject also pointed out that there's a math problem at the root of it. If you bar those two chairs from being on committees of substance, the numbers work out right; if you don't, they don't.
The Old Guard
What happened to the people chairing committees under deposed Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland?
Five of those 40 chairmen are no longer in the House. Four were among the Republicans who brought Craddick down last month. Nine joined that bunch and made Joe Straus the new speaker. The rest stuck with Craddick. The end result? A dozen of the 40 still have committees.
Some of Craddick's chairfolk aren't in the House anymore: Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, and Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, got beat; Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple, Fred Hill, R-Richardson, and Mike Krusee, R-Austin, didn't seek reelection.
Several were in the "Polo Road Gang" of 11 Republicans who met at Byron Cook's Austin home (thus the moniker) to elevate Straus as the lone opponent to Craddick, team up with the House Democrats, and toss the boss. That bunch includes Cook, R-Corsicana; Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, and Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton. They made out like bandits in Straus' assignments: He's the speaker and the other ten guys who were in the room are all chairing committees. In addition, each is either on the Calendars Committee that sets bills for consideration, or on the Redistricting Committee, which is setting the table for legislative and congressional redrawing of political districts in 2011.
Some were among the 15 Republicans and 70 Democrats on the first list of names that put Straus over the top: Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, Kino Flores, D-Palmview, Helen Giddings, D-Dallas, Tracy King, D-Batesville, Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, and Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs. And Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton, R-Mauriceville, had pledged to vote for another Craddick opponent. Branch, Deshotel, McClendon, and Rose all won chairs.
The remaining chairmen stuck with Craddick, at least until Straus had the votes to declare victory: Leo Berman, R-Tyler, Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, Bill Callegari, R-Katy, Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, Frank Corte, R-San Antonio, Joe Crabb, R-Humble, Joe Driver, R-Garland, Harold Dutton, D-Houston, Rick Hardcastle, R-Vernon, Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, Phil King, R-Weatherford, Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, Rob Orr, R-Burleson, Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, John Smithee, R-Amarillo, David Swinford, R-Dumas, Vicki Truitt, R-Keller, Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, and Beverly Woolley, R-Houston.
But that status didn't kill their chances of making Team Straus — it just made it highly unlikely. Of the bunch, Bonnen, Corte, Smithee, and Truitt are still chairs. Bonnen moved from Environmental Regulation to Land & Resource Management. Corte remains at Defense & Veterans Affairs, but he's the only Republican on his nine-member committee. Smithee, a late and semi-reluctant candidate offered by Craddick Rs as an alternative to Straus, will remain at Insurance. And Truitt will remain in the middle seat at the renamed Pensions, Investments & Financial Services.
Members who chaired the top committees for Craddick didn't fare as well. Chisum, King, Swinford, and Woolley — who chaired Appropriations, Regulated Industries, State Affairs, and Calendars, respectively — won't chair any committees this year.
Jefferson: Separate Courts from Political Influence
Texas ought to divorce political contributions and contests from its judges, the state Supreme Court's chief justice said in his latest State of the Judiciary address.
Justice Wallace Jefferson said he's "concerned by the public's perception that money in judicial races influences outcomes." He said the perception alone — whether based in fact or not — corrodes confidence in the courts. Jefferson said he's working with legislators to change how judges are chosen in an effort to get them off the political money train, and out of party politics.
"Sadly, we have now become accustomed to judicial races in which the primary determinants of victory are not the flaws of the incumbent or qualities of the challenger, but political affiliation and money," he said. "... I would like to claim that voters gave me the honor of continued service due to stellar credentials but it may just as well have been tied to McCain's success in Texas."
Jefferson said Texas is one of only seven states that still pick judges in partisan elections and said (again) that he'd prefer a merit selection system where judges are appointed and later can be unelected by voters.
His comments paralleled complaints from activists who held a press conference before his speech calling for judicial reforms that would separate judges from political money. Texans for Public Justice, Texas Watch, the League of Women Voters and the AFL-CIO joined to call for an end to partisan election of judges.
Those groups — like Jefferson — pointed to a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which one side is arguing that a judge should be recused from a case because lawyers on one side of it contributed to the judge's campaign. That case, Caperton v. Massey, will be argued before the federal high court next month.
Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, will again carry legislation to change the way judges are selected. He says it'll only affect appellate courts; state district judges have opposed such efforts in the past. And there's another hurdle in the middle office: A spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry says the Guv wants to leave judge-picking to the voters.
Back, Maybe, After 30 Years
Put former U.S. Ambassador and state Rep. Tom Schieffer on the list of people who might be running for governor of Texas next year. "I've been talking to people and I've been very encouraged," he says.
He's been calling around, visiting people, and drove the perimeter of the state to get a feel for it over the last few weeks. "I'm prepared to do it, if it's doable, and I'm convinced that it needs to be done," he says. "People have been very encouraging... but I need to be convinced that it's something that can be done."
Schieffer was president of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and one of George W. Bush's partners there. He served as ambassador to Australia and Japan while Bush was president. But he says he's a Democrat and served three terms in the Texas House in the 1970s — part of a huge 77-member freshman class that included Pete Laney, Kay Bailey, her future husband Ray Hutchison, Jim Mattox, and Buddy Temple, among others. Those last three ran for governor and lost; Schieffer and Hutchison, if both run, would be the fourth and fifth gubernatorial candidates from that House class.
If he runs, Schieffer says, he'll run as a Democrat. He's concerned about the state of education in Texas and worries that education here could fall behind other countries like India and China.
Schieffer says he'll make a decision in the next few weeks.
The Texas Racing Commission — funded entirely from fees on the racing interests it regulates — has about three months to find a way to prevent its bottom line from turning red.
In the wake of unreliable income from uncashed winning bet tickets, the agency is considering budget cuts, increases in those fees, and appeals to the governor and the Legislature as it seeks ways to remain in the black.
The outstanding bets — called OUTs — rise and fall with wagering at tracks. It's the money owed to bettors who never collect. After a year, the tickets are worthless, and the money reverts to the tracks. They can offset certain expenses allowed by the state with OUTs money; the rest goes to the TRC, where it's the largest single source of revenue.
When OUTs are down, TRC's income drops. Their latest projections have them running $677,833 short in their budget. They're proposing budget cuts (leaving empty race supervisor, drug-testing positions, and administrative positions unfilled) and a set of fee increases to narrow that budget gap to $255,154. They could go to the Legislature and/or the governor's office to cover that remainder.
The financial troubles at the agency come at a time when the tracks say they need new products to be financially viable themselves. They want slot machines allowed at existing racetracks and are lobbying legislators to put that idea up for a popular vote next year. They contend it would save their industry, put money into the economy, and earn the state $1 billion in fees on the new gambling.
Racing regulators will meet with track owners and industry groups this week to talk about increasing annual fees by $25,000 for most inactive racetrack licenses. They've proposed fees of up to $50,000 for approved "transfers of pecuniary interests" and of up to $100,000 for approved changes of locations of a licensed track. License fees for a variety occupations — from track announcers to farriers, clergy to veterinarians, tattooers to jockeys — would rise, too, under the proposal.
The TRC staff met with some of the affected groups this week and the full commission will take up the fee issues later this month.
Without changes, agency officials think they'll be in red ink sometime in May. The agency is on the Sunset Commission's review list this year; Sunset recommended replacing the OUTs income— which it deems unreliable — with higher fees on licenses. Sunset's report said one track, Lone Star in Grand Prairie, pays the most in OUTs money to the state even though it has fewer racing days than five other tracks.
Flotsam & Jetsam
The details of the federal stimulus money aren't out, but the Texas Conservative Coalition is already hitting the brakes, urging the Lege to be careful about the federal dough. Their wish list: Do the 2.5 percent budget cuts requested by state leaders during the current fiscal year; hold the equivalent of five percent of general spending in the Rainy Day Fund; limit "emergency" appropriations; try to use stimulus funds on one-time spending items so the state's not obligated in future years when the feds aren't helping; and put stronger limits on state spending. That group is full of lawmakers, who'll presumably put all that in bill form before the session is over.
State officials are waiting to get their mitts on the actual numbers, conditions, provisos, etc., but they've got some rough figures, and they're big. The House version of the stimulus bill would have sent $19.7 billion in this direction. The Senate number was $14.7 billion. That's for a variety of things, from highways to Medicaid to aid for the homeless, public housing to school construction, education to childcare to health care — you name it. They hope to have good numbers in the next few days.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst put a low bill number on the eminent domain bill, giving his push to a bit of legislation the governor is keen to see. Last session, Rick Perry vetoed an eminent domain bill that had broad approval in the Legislature. This time, he's asked for a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote from the Legislature, and which would then go to voters — bypassing Perry's desk and his pen. The sticking point last time had to do with access to the uncondemned part of a property, and compensation for the decreased value of what's left after the government comes in and starts building stuff. Sens. Craig Estes, Glenn Hegar, and Robert Duncan are heading that effort in the Senate.
Another bit of legislation has more than enough senators to get to the floor — it takes two-thirds, most of the time — but hasn't been referred to a committee yet. It's Sen. Chuy Hinojosa's moratorium on increases in college tuition. He's got more than the required 21 signatures and is waiting to see whether it'll land in education, higher education, or finance.
Department of Corrections: Janna Burleson was at the governor's office, the Texas Youth Commission, and with Sen. Royce West's office before moving to House Speaker Joe Straus' policy crew. We had her on the Lite Guv's staff, which is incorrect... We misspelled Kurt Meachum and Jerry Philips in the same sentence last week. We'll just quote our high school band director here: "If you're gonna make a mistake, make a big one." Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Jim Dunnam, leader of the House Democrats, got a committee assignment that wasn't in the original list from House Speaker Joe Straus, though a mention of it was tacked to the bottom of a press release on the panels.
Dunnam will head a "Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding" that will "monitor actions of the federal government, including legislation and regulations, related to efforts to promote economic recovery by providing federal funds to the states" and to develop legislation to "maximize the state's receipt of federal funds."
The members of that panel include Dunnam, Crownover (vice chair), Coleman, Darby, Eiland, Kent, Ortiz, Pitts, and Truitt.
Quotes of the Week
House Speaker Joe Straus on his first committee assignments: "I tried my best to be fair."
Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, on Straus' effort: "This is the kind of thing you could nitpick all day long, you know?"
Republican consultant Royal Masset, quoted in a Dallas Morning News story on GOP squabbling over federal spending to boost the economy: "People are forgetting that Republicans were the ones who floated the great bailout that started this whole thing. It's not exactly like this is a Democratic plot to make the world safe for socialism."
Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, quoted in the Galveston County Daily News on a plan to rebuild UT-Medical Branch to survive future hurricanes and flooding: "The only thing that will be left on the first floor would be Starbucks and couches."
House Speaker Joe Straus' first announced his much-anticipated committee assignments. Here they are:
AGRICULTURE & LIVESTOCK: Gonzalez Toureilles-C; Anderson-VC, B. Brown, Crabb, Hardcastle, Heflin, Kleinschmidt, Rios Ybarra, Swinford
APPROPRIATIONS: Pitts-C; Raymond-VC, Chavez, Crownover, Dukes, Edwards, Flores, Giddings, Isett, McClendon, Morrison, Pitts, Riddle, Villarreal, Aycock, F. Brown, Button, Cohen, Creighton, Darby, Driver, Eiland, Herrero, Hochberg, S. King, D. Miller, Otto, Zerwas
BORDER & INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: Gonzales-C; Flynn-VC, Flores, Guillen, Leibowitz, Moody, Olivo, Raymond, Shelton
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY: Deshotel-C; Elkins-VC, Christian, Elkins, Gattis, S. Miller, England, Giddings, Keffer, Orr, Quintanilla, S. Turner
CALENDARS: McCall-C; Lucio-VC, Chavez, Coleman, Cook, Creighton, Geren, Keffer, Kolkhorst, Kuempel, McReynolds, Ritter, Solomons
CORRECTIONS: McReynolds-C; Madden-VC, England, Hodge, Madden, Dutton, Kolkhorst, Marquez, Martinez, S. Miller, Ortiz, Sheffield
COUNTY AFFAIRS: Coleman-C; Morrison-VC, J. Davis, W. Smith, Berman, Bolton, Castro, Marquez, Sheffield
CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE: Gallego-C; Christian-VC, Miklos, Moody, Pierson, Fletcher, Hodge, Kent, Riddle, Vaught, Vo
CULTURE, RECREATION, & TOURISM: Homer-C; D. Howard-VC, Phillips, Dukes, T. King, Kleinschmidt, Kuempel, McCall, Thibaut
DEFENSE & VETERANS' AFFAIRS: Corte-C; Vaught-VC, Farias, C. Turner, Chavez, Edwards, Maldonado, Ortiz, Pickett
ELECTIONS: T. Smith-C; Peña-VC, B. Brown, Allen, Anchia, Bohac, Bonnen, Harper-Brown, Heflin
ENERGY RESOURCES: Keffer-C; Crownover-VC, Crabb, Hardcastle, Keffer, Craddick, Farabee, Gonzalez Toureilles, Rios Ybarra, Strama
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Cook-C; Chisum-VC, Burnam, Dunnam, Farrar, Hancock, Legler, Veasey, Weber
GENERAL INVESTIGATING & ETHICS: Hopson-C; Phillips-VC, Creighton, Gallego, Hunter
HIGHER EDUCATION: Branch-C; Castro-VC, Alonzo, Berman, McCall, Cohen, D. Howard, Patrick, Rose
HOUSE ADMINISTRATION: Geren-C; Rose-VC, Allen, Callegari, Eissler, D. Howard, D. Miller, Ortiz, Riddle, Shelton, Vo
HUMAN SERVICES: Rose-C; Herrero-VC, Herrero, Naishtat, Walle, Darby, Elkins, Hernandez, Hughes, Legler
INSURANCE: Smithee-C; Martinez Fischer-VC, Deshotel, Eiland, Hunter, Hancock, Isett, Taylor, Thompson
JUDICIARY & CIVIL JURISPRUDENCE: Hunter-C; Hughes-VC, Branch, Hartnett, Hughes, Leibowitz, Alonzo, Jackson, Lewis, Madden, Martinez, Woolley
LAND & RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Bonnen-C; Farrar-VC, Orr, Alvarado, Bolton, Hamilton, Homer, Paxton, Thibaut
LICENSING & ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES: Kuempel-C; Thompson-VC, Jones, Menendez, Thompson, Chisum, Geren, Gutierrez, Hamilton, Quintanilla
LOCAL & CONSENT CALENDARS: Thompson-C; Cook-VC, Anchia, Bohac, Bolton, Gutierrez, Laubenberg, Martinez Fischer, Merritt, Morrison, Orr
NATURAL RESOURCES: Ritter-C; Callegari-VC, Corte, T. King, Martinez Fischer, Smithee, Creighton, Frost, Laubenberg, Lucio, D. Miller
PENSIONS, INVESTMENTS, & FINANCIAL SERVICES: Truitt-C; Anchia-VC, Anderson, Flynn, Woolley, Hernandez, Hopson, Parker, Veasey
PUBLIC EDUCATION: Eissler-C; Hochberg-VC, Allen, Dutton, Jackson, Olivo, Aycock, Farias, Patrick, Shelton, Weber
PUBLIC HEALTH: Kolkhorst-C; Naishtat-VC, Coleman, Hopson, McReynolds, Truitt, J. Davis, Gonzales, S. King, Laubenberg, Zerwas
PUBLIC SAFETY: Merritt-C; Frost-VC, Driver, Vo, Burnam, P. King, Lewis, Mallory Caraway, Rodriguez
REDISTRICTING: Jones-C; Villarreal-VC, Alvarado, Deshotel, Eissler, Harless, Herrero, Hilderbran, Keffer, Merritt, Peña, Pickett, Pitts, T. Smith, Veasey
RULES & RESOLUTIONS: McClendon-C; Crabb-VC, Anderson, Edwards, Farias, Kent, Kleinschmidt, Marquez, Rios Ybarra, Sheffield, Walle
STATE AFFAIRS: Solomons-C; Menendez-VC, Craddick, Gallego, Hilderbran, Oliveira, Swinford, S. Turner, Cook, Farabee, Geren, Harless, Jones, Lucio, Maldonado
TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, & WORKFORCE: Strama-C; Parker-VC, F. Brown, Eissler, Ritter, Button, Gattis, Harless, Rodriguez
TRANSPORTATION: Pickett-C; Phillips-VC, Callegari, Y. Davis, Merritt, T. Smith, Dunnam, Guillen, Harper-Brown, McClendon, W. Smith
URBAN AFFAIRS: Y. Davis-C; C. Howard-VC, Fletcher, Mallory Caraway, Alvarado, Gutierrez, Kent, Miklos, Pierson, C. Turner, Walle
WAYS & MEANS: Oliveira-C; Otto-VC, Bohac, C. Howard, P. King, Paxton, Hartnett, Hilderbran, Peña, Taylor, Villarreal
Allen: Elections; House Administration; Public Education
Alonzo: Higher Education; Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Alvarado: Land & Resource Management; Redistricting; Urban Affairs
Anchia: Elections; Local & Consent Calendars; VC-Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
Anderson: VC-Agriculture & Livestock; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services; Rules & Resolutions
Aycock: Appropriations; Public Education
Berman: County Affairs; Higher Education
Bohac: Elections; Local & Consent Calendars; Ways & Means
Bolton: County Affairs; Land & Resource Management; Local & Consent Calendars
Bonnen: Elections; C-Land & Resource Management
Branch: C-Higher Education; Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
B. Brown: Agriculture & Livestock; Elections
F. Brown: Appropriations; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Burnam: Environmental Regulation; Public Safety
Button: Appropriations; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Callegari: House Administration; VC-Natural Resources; Transportation
Castro: County Affairs; VC-Higher Education
Chavez: Appropriations; Calendars; Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Chisum: VC-Environmental Regulation; Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Christian: Business & Industry; VC-Criminal Jurisprudence
Cohen: Appropriations; Higher Education
Coleman: Calendars; C-County Affairs; Public Health
Cook: Calendars; C-Environmental Regulation; VC-Local & Consent Calendars; State Affairs
Corte: C-Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Natural Resources
Crabb: Agriculture & Livestock; Energy Resources; VC-Rules & Resolutions
Craddick: Energy Resources; State Affairs
Creighton: Appropriations; Calendars; General Investigating & Ethics; Natural Resources
Crownover: Appropriations; VC-Energy Resources
Darby: Appropriations; Human Services
J. Davis: Public Health; County Affairs
Y. Davis: Transportation; C-Urban Affairs
Deshotel: C-Business & Industry; Insurance; Redistricting
Driver: Appropriations; Public Safety
Dukes: Appropriations; Culture, Recreation & Tourism
Dunnam: Environmental Regulation; Transportation
Dutton: Corrections; Public Education
Edwards: Appropriations; Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Rules & Resolutions
Eiland: Appropriations; Insurance
Eissler: House Administration; C-Public Education; Redistricting; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Elkins: VC-Business & Industry; Human Services
England: Business & Industry; Corrections
Farabee: Energy Resources; State Affairs
Farias: Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Public Education; Rules & Resolutions
Farrar: Environmental Regulation; VC-Land & Resource Management
Fletcher: Criminal Jurisprudence; Urban Affairs
Flores: Appropriations; Border & Intergovernmental Affairs
Flynn: VC-Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
Frost: Natural Resources; VC-Public Safety
Gallego: C-Criminal Jurisprudence; General Investigating & Ethics; State Affairs
Gattis: Business & Industry; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Geren: Calendars; C-House Administration; Licensing & Administrative Procedures; State Affairs
Giddings: Appropriations; Business & Industry
Gonzales: C-Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Health
Gonzalez Toureilles: C-Agriculture & Livestock; Energy Resources
Guillen: Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Transportation
Gutierrez: Licensing & Administrative Procedures; Local & Consent Calendars; Urban Affairs
Hamilton: Land & Resource Management; Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Hancock: Environmental Regulation; Insurance
Hardcastle: Agriculture & Livestock; Energy Resources
Harless: Redistricting; State Affairs; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Harper-Brown: Elections; Transportation
Hartnett: Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence; Ways & Means
Heflin: Agriculture & Livestock; Elections
Hernandez: Human Services; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
Herrero: Appropriations; VC-Human Services; Redistricting
Hilderbran: Redistricting; State Affairs; Ways & Means
Hochberg: Appropriations; VC-Public Education
Hodge: Corrections; Criminal Jurisprudence
Homer: C-Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Land & Resource Management
Hopson: C-General Investigating & Ethics; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services; Public Health
C. Howard: Ways & Means; VC-Urban Affairs
D. Howard: VC-Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Higher Education; House Administration
Hughes: Human Services; VC-Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Hunter: General Investigating & Ethics; Insurance; C-Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Isett: Appropriations; Insurance
Jackson: Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence; Public Education
Jones: Licensing & Administrative Procedures; State Affairs; C-Redistricting
Keffer: Business & Industry; Calendars; C-Energy Resources; Redistricting
Kent: Criminal Jurisprudence; Rules & Resolutions; Urban Affairs
P. King: Public Safety; Ways & Means
S. King: Appropriations; Public Health
T. King: Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Natural Resources
Kleinschmidt: Agriculture & Livestock; Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Rules & Resolutions
Kolkhorst: Calendars; Corrections; C-Public Health
Kuempel: Calendars; Culture, Recreation & Tourism; C-Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Laubenberg: Local & Consent Calendars; Natural Resources; Public Health
Legler: Environmental Regulation; Human Services
Leibowitz: Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Lewis: Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence; Public Safety
Lucio: VC-Calendars; Natural Resources; State Affairs
Madden: VC-Corrections; Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Maldonado: Defense & Veterans' Affairs; State Affairs
Mallory Caraway: Public Safety; Urban Affairs
Marquez: Corrections; County Affairs; Rules & Resolutions
Martinez: Corrections; Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
Martinez Fischer: VC-Insurance; Local & Consent Calendars; Natural Resources
McCall: C-Calendars; Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Higher Education
McClendon: Appropriations; C-Rules & Resolutions; Transportation
McReynolds: Calendars; C-Corrections; Public Health
Menendez: Licensing & Administrative Procedures; VC-State Affairs
Merritt: Local & Consent Calendars; C-Public Safety; Redistricting; Transportation
Miklos: Criminal Jurisprudence; Urban Affairs
D. Miller: Appropriations; House Administration; Natural Resources
S. Miller: Business & Industry; Corrections
Moody: Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Criminal Jurisprudence
Morrison: Appropriations; VC-County Affairs; Local & Consent Calendars
Naishtat: Human Services; VC-Public Health
Oliveira: State Affairs; C-Ways & Means
Olivo: Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Education
Orr: Business & Industry; Land & Resource Management; Local & Consent Calendars
Ortiz: Corrections; Defense & Veterans' Affairs; House Administration
Otto: Appropriations; VC-Ways & Means
Parker: Pensions, Investments & Financial Services; VC-Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Patrick: Higher Education; Public Education
Paxton: Land & Resource Management; Ways & Means
Peña: VC-Elections; Redistricting; Ways & Means
Phillips: Culture, Recreation & Tourism; VC-General Investigating & Ethics; VC-Transportation
Pickett: Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Redistricting; C-Transportation
Pierson: Criminal Jurisprudence; Urban Affairs
Pitts: C-Appropriations; Redistricting
Quintanilla: Business & Industry; Licensing & Administrative Procedures
Raymond: VC-Appropriations; Border & Intergovernmental Affairs
Riddle: Appropriations; Criminal Jurisprudence; House Administration
RiosYbarra: Agriculture & Livestock; Energy Resources; Rules & Resolutions
Ritter: Calendars; C-Natural Resources; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Rodriguez: Public Safety; Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Rose: Higher Education; VC-House Administration; C-Human Services
Sheffield: Corrections; County Affairs; Rules & Resolutions
Shelton: Border & Intergovernmental Affairs; House Administration; Public Education
T. Smith: C-Elections; Redistricting; Transportation
W. Smith: County Affairs; Transportation
Smithee: C-Insurance; Natural Resources
Solomons: Calendars; C-State Affairs
Strama: Energy Resources; C-Technology, Economic Development & Workforce
Swinford: Agriculture & Livestock; State Affairs
Taylor: Insurance; Ways & Means
Thibaut: Culture, Recreation & Tourism; Land & Resource Management
Thompson: Insurance; VC-Licensing & Administrative Procedures; C-Local & Consent Calendars
Truitt: Public Health; C-Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
C. Turner: Defense & Veterans' Affairs; Urban Affairs
S. Turner: Business & Industry; State Affairs
Vaught: Criminal Jurisprudence; VC-Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Veasey: Environmental Regulation; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services; Redistricting
Villarreal: Appropriations; VC-Redistricting; Ways & Means
Vo: Criminal Jurisprudence; House Administration; Public Safety
Walle: Human Services; Rules & Resolutions; Urban Affairs
Weber: Environmental Regulation; Public Education
Woolley: Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence; Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
Zerwas: Appropriations; Public Health
Texas Weekly: Volume 26, Issue 6, 16 February 2009. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2009 by Printing Production Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. One-year online subscription: $250. For information about your subscription, call (512) 302-5703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For news, email email@example.com, or call (512) 288-6598.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.