This past Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced assignments for Texas Senate committees for the 88th legislative session. The 31 Texas senators were each assigned to the 15 standing senate committees and a 16th special committee on redistricting.
In order to guarantee compliance with the Texas Constitution, which mandates that redistricting occur during the first regular legislative session after census data was collected, the Texas Legislature will vote on maps for the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education again this year but is largely expected to keep the current district maps.
All 16 of the senate committees will be chaired by Republican members, except for the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which will be chaired by Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston). Texas Republican Party Chair Matt Rinaldi, who has publicly criticized Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan for appointing Democrats to chair Texas House committees, praised Patrick for limiting the number of Democratic committee chairs. According to Rinaldi, Patrick assured him that Whitmire, who is leaving the Texas Legislature this year to run for Houston mayor, will be the last Democrat appointed as a Senate committee chair under his leadership.
|Senate Education Committee Members|
|Brandon Creighton, Chair||R – Conroe|
|Donna Campbell, Vice Chair||R – New Braunfels|
|Paul Bettencourt||R – Houston|
|Brian Birdwell||R – Granbury|
|Peter Flores||R – Pleasanton|
|Phil King||R – Weatherford|
|Morgan LaMantia||D – South Padre Island|
|José Menéndez||D – San Antonio|
|Mayes Middleton||R – Wallisville|
|Tan Parker||R – Flower Mound|
|Angela Paxton||R – McKinney|
|Drew Springer||R – Muenster|
|Royce West||D – Dallas|
Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) will continue to chair the Senate Education Committee, with Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) serving as Vice Chair of the Committee. This session, the Senate Higher Education Committee will be a subcommittee of the Senate Education Committee. Dallas Sen. Royce West is the sole Democratic member of the five-member Higher Education Subcommittee.
The powerful Senate Finance Committee will be chaired by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), who took over as committee chair during the interim after Sen. Jane Nelson retired. The Senate Finance Committee is responsible for handling the state budget and all legislative appropriations for the Senate.