Texas Senate Committees Named

The Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, announced committee assignments Wednesday, including significant changes in the roster of the Senate Education Committee. Patrick eliminated from the committee two stalwart supporters of public education, Sens. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), and he enlarged the Republican majority, leaving the committee with eight rather than seven Republicans and reducing the Democratic contingent from four to three.

Here’s the reconfigured Senate Education Committee for the 2017 session:

Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, chair
Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, vice-chair
Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
Bob Hall, R-Canton
Don Huffines, R-Dallas
Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo
Van Taylor, R-Taylor
Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio
Royce West, D-Dallas

The Senate Higher Education looks a bit more balanced. Here’s the roster:

Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, chair
Royce West, D-Dallas, vice-chair
Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Dawn Buckingham, R-Lake Travis
Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio
Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood
Kirk Watson, D-Austin

The Senate State Affairs Committee, with jurisdiction over pensions, health insurance, and matters like payroll deduction is another lopsided panel, with seven Republicans and two Democrats, as follows:

Joan Huffman, R-Houston, chair
Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, vice-chair
Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe
Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls
Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville
Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound
Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo

The powerhouse Finance Committee, which writes the Senate version of the state budget and handles taxes and other revenue bills, has 15 members as follows, ten of them Republicans and five Democrats:

Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chair
Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, vice-chair
Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills
Joan Huffman, R-Houston
Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham
Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville
Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown
Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo
Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood
Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio
Kirk Watson, D-Austin
Royce West, D-Dallas
John Whitmire, D-Houston

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