This past week, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced committee assignments for the 88th legislative session. In his second session as speaker of the Texas House, Phelan dramatically changed the leadership and membership of several key Texas House committees.
Rep. Brad Buckley (R-Killeen) will now head the House Public Education Committee, which was previously chaired by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston). Chairman Buckley comes from a family of public educators, and his wife is an assistant superintendent for Killeen ISD. Since he first ran for the Texas House in 2018, Buckley has publicly spoken against private school voucher schemes.
Long-time champion for public education Rep. Alma Allen (D-Houston) will serve as vice chair for the committee. New members of the committee include two former school board trustees: Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) and freshman Rep. Charles Cunningham (R-Humble). Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio), a veteran member of the public education committee, also served as a school board trustee for Alamo Heights ISD.
House Public Education Committee Members
|Brad Buckley, Chair||R-Killeen|
|Alma Allen, Vice Chair||D-Houston|
|Harold V. Dutton Jr.||D-Houston|
|Steve Allison||R-San Antonio|
|Cole Hefner||R-Mt. Pleasant|
|James Talarico||D-Round Rock|
The House Higher Education Committee also saw a significant shake-up with only a single member from the previous legislative session, Rep. John Raney (R-College Station), remaining on the committee. Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin) will serve as chairman of the committee, and Rep. Dennis Paul (R-Houston) will serve as vice chair.
House Higher Education Committee Members
|John Kuempel, Chair||R-Seguin|
|Dennis Paul, Vice Chair||R-Houston|
|Mary González||D-El Paso|
|John Raney||R-College Station|
|John H. Bucy III||D-Austin|
|Suleman Lalani||D-Sugar Land|
The Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) committee, which will be critical in providing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to retired teachers’ monthly pension annuity, will be led by returning committee member Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake). During the previous legislative session, Chairman Capriglione authored HB 3214, which would have provided TRS (Teacher Retirement System of Texas) members with a 6% COLA capped at $100. HB 3214 was voted out of committee but never received a vote on the House floor. Rep. Stan Lambert will serve as Vice Chair of PIFS.
Finally, the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for crafting the House side of the state budget, will have stability in leadership, with both Chairman Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood) and Vice Chair Mary González (D-El Paso) returning. While committee members have been announced, it is still unknown which subcommittees the members will serve on. Members of the committee are assigned to different subcommittees representing the different articles of the state budget. Article III is the public education section of the state budget, which would include funding for educator raises, a TRS COLA, and all other potential public and higher education expenditures.