Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has released the Interim Charges for Senate Committees. To view the complete list, follow this link to the Texas Senate’s website.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced some personnel changes during the past week. Former State Representative Clyde Alexander will step down as chief of staff to Speaker Straus later this month. Alexander will continue to serve the Speaker’s team as a senior advisor. Current house parliamentarian and special counsel Denise Davis will be promoted to chief of staff. In addition, Tracy Young was appointed as the new Director of Communications for the speaker’s office.
On Tuesday, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced the creation of several select House committees.
- The House Select Committee on Fiscal Stability is charged with evaluating the state’s fiscal situation, specifically assessing the state’s ability to meet its current and future budget obligations, and determining whether the past and anticipated budget shortfalls are due primarily to the current economic recession or a more systemic problem. Members of the committee include Chairman John Otto (R-Dayton), Vice Chair Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), Angie Chen Button (R-Garland), Gary Elkins (R-Houston), Kirk England (D-Grand Prairie), Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso), Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth) and Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio).
- The House Select Committee on Federal Legislation will closely monitor significant pending federal legislation with specific emphasis on health care reform efforts. The committee will also work to improve the exchange of information between Texas and Washington, D.C., by communicating the impact of pending federal legislation to the state economy and citizens. Representative John Zerwas (R-Richmond) will serve as chair and Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) will serve as vice chair. Other committee members include Representatives Dan Branch (R-Dallas), Warren Chisum (R-Pampa), Ellen Cohen (D-Houston), Donna Howard (D-Austin), Susan King (R-Abilene), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), Tommy Merritt (R-Longview), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin), Solomon Ortiz, Jr. (D-Corpus Christi), Tara Rios Ybarra (D-South Padre Island), and Mark Shelton (R-Fort Worth).
- The House Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness to review Texas’ response to natural and man-made disasters and better prepare for future incidents. The committee will review and make recommendations on the State of Texas’ preparedness level for major disasters, including those resulting from natural catastrophes and acts of terrorism. As part of its work, the committee will review whether progress has been made based on previous studies regarding emergencies. Representative Aaron Peña (D-Edinburg) will chair the committee and Representative Mike Hamilton (R-Mauriceville) to serve as vice chair. The committee members include Representatives Frank Corte, Jr. (R-San Antonio), Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Joe Farias (D-San Antonio), Stephen Frost (D-Atlanta), Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon), Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa), Mark Strama (D-Austin), Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Allen Vaught (D-Dallas).
- The House Select Committee on Government Efficiency and Accountability The committee will review and make recommendations for eliminating inefficiencies in state government. The committee will also look for best practices in purchasing state goods and services and review the advantages and disadvantages of privatization. Representative Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) will chair the committee and Representative John Davis (R-Houston) will serve as vice chair. The committee members include Representatives Alma Allen (D-Houston), Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin), Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington), Rob Orr (R-Burleson), Diane Patrick (R-Arlington), Chente Quintanilla (D-Tornillo) and Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton).