Governor Rick Perry has yet to announce the date of the special election to fill the Texas Senate seat vacated by the death of Mario Gallegos following his posthumous re-election last week. Despite the absence of a date, several candidates have announced their intent to run, including Democrats Sylvia Garcia, a former Harris County Commissioner, and Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston). Republican R.W. Bray who lost to Gallegos in the general election will also run again.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has created the Interim Committee on Texas Response to Federal Sequestration, which will recommend ways that the state can prepare for possible tax increases and spending reductions. The Committee will study how the sequestration process will affect the defense industry in Texas, the state budget, public and higher education and the tax burden on Texas families and businesses. The Committee will also develop specific legislative proposals. Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) has been appointed as Chair of the Committee. Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) will serve as Vice Chair. The Committee will also include Reps. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite); Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe); Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin); Craig Eiland (D-Galveston); Dan Flynn (R-Canton); Naomi Gonzalez (D-El Paso); Jodie Laubenberg (R-Rockwall); Eddie Lucio III (D-San Benito); and Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).
On Monday, Texas legislators began filing legislation for the upcoming 83rd Legislative Session. Over 250 bills were filed on the first day as eager legislators unveiled their legislative programs. Expect to see bills continue to trickle in through December and the numbers to rise once the session begins in January.
Senior State District Judge John Specia of San Antonio will take over as commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Judge Specia will replace Howard Baldwin, who announced last week he is leaving his post as commissioner to pursue other options.