House and Senate Committees have begun meeting and hearing bills. To find out the latest committee schedules or to listen to budget hearings, go to the Texas Legislature Online website at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/. For those of you who use iPhones or other smart phones, enter www.txlegis.com in your browser.
Here are some interesting facts about last week’s House committee appointments. Last session there were 19 Republican chairs and 16 Democrats. This session, that split is 27 to 11. Democrats who lost prominent chairmanships include Reps. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) – Ways & Means; Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) – Transportation and Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas) – Urban Affairs. Oliveira will now chair Land & Resource Management and Pickett will head up Defense & Veteran’s Affairs. Republicans that saw their fortunes rise include Rep. Beverly Woolley (R-Houston) who will serve as speaker pro tempore; Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) who will head the all important Calendars Committee, and Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) who replaces Oliveira as head of Ways & Means.
Brian Guthrie will take over as executive director of the Teacher Retirement System when Ronnie Jung retires in September. Guthrie has served as the deputy director at TRS since 2008.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed three members to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The new members include Judy Morgan of Texarkana; Elaine Mendoza of San Antonio; and Cliff Thomas of Victoria.