Two years ago, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick shook up the Texas Senate in his first legislative session as lieutenant governor by shuffling around committee assignments. This year, he is mostly sticking with the status quo.
On Wednesday, he changed the chair of just one committee. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, will now lead the Senate Administration Committee, which handles nuts-and-bolts issues for the Senate such as office space, personnel and payroll.
"To serve in a long line of powerful and talented Senate Administration Chairs is a great privilege," Kolkhorst said in a statement. "It is a distinct honor to be the first female Senator to hold this Chairmanship."
Kolkhorst is likely to be a prominent senator this session. In addition to chairing a committee, she is author of one of the most high-profile pieces of legislation — a bill pertaining to which bathroom transgender people can use.
Last session, that committee was led by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills. Hancock chaired two committees in 2015, which is unusual in the Senate. This session, he's retained his chairmanship of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.
Among the new members, Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, an eye doctor, will join the Health and Human Services Committee, along with the Higher Education, Nominations and Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committees.
New Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, will be on the Administration, Criminal Justice, Education and State Affairs Committees.
"These appointments reflect the proven leadership, commitment, expertise and solid work ethic of the thirty-one senators who have been elected by the people of Texas to represent them," Patrick said in a statement.
Here's a list of all the committee chairs:
- Administration — Lois Kolkhorst
- Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs — Charles Perry
- Business & Commerce — Kelly Hancock
- Criminal Justice — John Whitmire
- Education — Larry Taylor
- Finance — Jane Nelson
- Health & Human Services — Charles Schwertner
- Higher Education — Kel Seliger
- Intergovernmental Relations — Eddie Lucio Jr.
- Natural Resources & Economic Development — Craig Estes
- Nominations — Brian Birdwell
- State Affairs — Joan Huffman
- Transportation — Robert Nichols
- Veteran Affairs & Border Security — Donna Campbell
See the full list of committee assignments here.