Texas Speaker Straus Announces Committee Assignments

AP Photo
AP Photo

On Wednesday afternoon, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) announced his appointments for House Committees, laying out who will hold crucial positions of power over the bills considered during the state’s 84th Legislative Session.

The Committees will have their first meetings next week. In addition to the regular standing committees, Straus also created two new select committees, for a total of forty committees. Twenty-four of the committees have new chairs from last session. The appointments draw from across the different geographic areas of the state, and thirteen of the committees will be chaired by Democrats.

“These assignments reflect the makeup of the House,” said Straus in his press release announcing the appointments. “They also reflect a collaborative and results-oriented culture that has worked very well in recent years. The House is a place that encourages Members to find common ground and build consensus around serious solutions.”

Among the noteworthy appointments are the retention of Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) to chair the Calendars Committee, which has vast powers over which bills can move to the floor for debate, and Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) as Public Education Chair. As Breitbart Texas reported, questions were raised about Aycock’s ability to impartially fulfill the duties of chairing that committee, considering his daughter’s work as an education lobbyist. Two days after the initial Breitbart Texas article on the issue, Aycock announced that his daughter was withdrawing her registration as a lobbyist, a move widely viewed as calculated to quiet objections to his reappointment as committee chair. Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), Chair of the Higher Education Committee, is on record as opposing the repeal of Texas’ policy allowing children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, according to The Texas Tribune.

The leadership positions appointed by Straus are as follows:

  • Speaker Pro Tempore: Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angelton)
  • Agriculture & Livestock Chair: Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville)
  • Appropriations Chair: Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton)
  • Business & Industry Chair: Rep. René Oliveira (D-Brownsville)
  • Calendars Chair: Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi)
  • Corrections Chair: Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston)
  • County Affairs Chair: Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)
  • Criminal Jurisprudence Chair: Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown)
  • Culture, Recreation, & Tourism Chair: Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City)
  • Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Chair : Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene)
  • Economic & Small Business Development Chair: Rep. Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson)
  • Elections Chair: Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker)
  • Energy Resources Chair: Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)
  • Environmental Regulation Chair: Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria)
  • General Investigating & Ethics Chair: Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin)
  • Government Transparency & Operation Chair: Rep. Gary Elkins (R-Houston)
  • Higher Education Chair: Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond)
  • Homeland Security & Public Safety Chair: Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman)
  • House Administration Chair: Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)
  • Human Services Chair: Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo)
  • Insurance Chair: Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock)
  • International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs Chair: Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas)
  • Investments & Financial Services Chair: Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)
  • Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Chair: Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo)
  • Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Chair: Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr. (D-Houston)
  • Land & Resource Management Chair: Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont)
  • Licensing & Administrative Procedures Chair: Rep. Wayne Smith (R-Baytown)
  • Local & Consent Calendars: Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
  • Natural Resources Chair: Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland)
  • Pensions Chair: Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton)
  • Public Education Chair: Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen)
  • Public Health Chair: Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton)
  • Redistricting Chair: Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville)
  • Rules & Resolutions Chair: Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio)
  • Special Purpose Districts Chair: Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels)
  • State Affairs Chair: Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana)
  • Transportation Chair: Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso)
  • Urban Affairs Chair: Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)
  • Ways & Means Chair: Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton)
  • Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement Chair: Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress)
  • Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility Chair: Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)

The full list of appointments, including the complete list of all members of the House committees, has been posted on the House website here. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R), who serves as President of the Senate, announced his committee appointments last month, as Breitbart Texas reported.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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