Lt. Governor David Dewhurst shuffled the Texas Senate Committee chairs last week. The end result is 12 Republicans and six Democrats chairing committees. Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr.(D-Brownsville) saw his committee and his chairmanship abolished. Senators chairing different committees or taking on the chair position for the first time include Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) at Education; Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) at Higher Education; Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) at Government Organization; Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) at Transportation; Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) at Open Government; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) at Intergovernmental Relations; Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) at Nominations; Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) at Jurisprudence; and Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) at Economic Development. Two additional committees were disbanded – a subcommittee chaired by Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston) and the redistricting panel chaired last session by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo).
Speaker Joe Straus has appointed an Interim Committee on General Revenue Dedicated Accounts. Reps. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) and John Otto (R-Dayton) will co-chair the Committee, which will study ways that the Legislature can use general revenue-dedicated funds more appropriately and transparently. The members of the Committee include Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas); Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock); Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring); Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin); Rep. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio); Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie); and Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston).
HHSC Commissioner Kyle Janek has named Kay Ghahremani as the new Director of Medicaid and CHIP. Ghahremani has been with the agency for 17 years and has served as deputy director of the Medicaid and CHIP programs for the past five years.