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:
|Agriculture &Livestock||Rick Hardcastle||R||Vernon|
|Border &Intergovernmental Affairs||Veronica Gonzales||D||McAllen|
|Business &Industry||Joe Deshotel||D||Beaumont|
|Calendars||Todd Hunter||R||Corpus Christi|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Rules &Resolutions||Ruth Jones McClendon||D||San Antonio|
|State Affairs||Byron Cook||R||Corsicana|
|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|