Texas Speaker Straus Names Water Board Appointments

Texas Speaker Straus Names Water Board Appointments

Nearly five months after voters approved Proposition 6, House Speaker Joe Straus appointed two Republicans and a Democrat to the State Water Implementation Fund’s advisory committee.

The advisory committee is charged under state law with overseeing the Texas Water Development Board’s investments and spending of the $2 billion taken from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund–also known as the “Rainy Day” fund. 

Straus’ appointees are Allan Ritter (R-Nederland), Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) and Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville). Ritter, first elected to the House as a Democrat who switched parties in 2010, was the original author of the legislation creating the fund.

In January, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made his appointments: Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Troy Fraser (R-Marble Falls) and Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock).

The funding program was sold to the public as a way to “develop and optimize water supplies at cost-effective interest rates.” Just 8 percent of the state’s registered voters turned out for the November 2013 election that authorized the creation of the program and the transfer of dollars from the state’s rainy day fund.

A final appointment to the advisory committee will be made by the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Susan Combs. Under the law, the Comptroller does not have to make an appointment, choosing to instead serve on the committee. With Combs’ decision not to seek reelection in 2014, the next state comptroller will either be Republican Glenn Hegar or Democrat Mike Collier.

Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan


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