Today, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced the appointments of Senate Committee Chairs, including the appointment of Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education. The Lt. Governor’s press release stated that this appointment was “due to his strong interest in improving public education for children, instituting innovative change and providing for more school choice by parents.” 

Senator Patrick succeeds Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) who announced her retirement from the Texas Senate.

Senator Patrick has already made his position on school choice well known.  As reported by Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle, Patrick has described school choice as “the photo ID bill of this session.”  Patrick said in August. “Our base has wanted us to pass photo voter ID for years, and we did it. They’ve been wanting us to pass school choice for years. This is the year to do it, in my view. That issue will do more to impact the future of Texas and the quality of education than anything else we could do.” 

Lt. Governor Dewhurst stated that the appointed chairs will serve “for the remainder of the Regular Session to complete the Interim Charges,” but it is widely believed that all or most of the appointed chairs will continue in these posts through the Regular Session as well. 

Other committee chair appointments that may be of interest to TXSC members include:

Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) was appointed as Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education. He recently served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Redistricting.

Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), who previously chaired the Senate Committee on Higher Education, was appointed as Chair of the Senate Committee on Government Organization, where important Sunset legislation – including bills relating to the Texas Education Agency and Higher Education Coordinating Board – will be considered this Session.

Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) was appointed as Chair of the Senate Committee on Nominations, which handles the important job of considering gubernatorial appointments, such as the Commissioner of Education.

Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) was appointed as Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, which would hear any changes to Chapter 313.

As previously announced, Senator Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) will serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, succeeding Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) who announced his retirement following the 82nd Legislature. 

Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) has been reappointed as Chair of the Senate Committee on State Affairs.

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