Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced House committee assignments yesterday, with Republicans holding the chairmanships of the highest-profile committees. Phelan appointed 8 Democrats to chair standing committees, down from 13 last session. There are currently 34 standing committees in the Texas House.
It is a longstanding practice in both the Texas House and Texas Senate for members of the minority party to hold committee chairmanships.
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Democrats who were key figures in the quorum bust during the last legislative session were not appointed to chair committees for the current legislative session. State Representative Chris Turner, who served as Chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus and the House Business and Industry Committee last session, was not re-appointed as a committee chairman.
Other Democrats who lost committee chairmanships include Rafael Anchia, Nicole Collier, Richard Raymond, and Philip Cortez. State Representative Senfronia Thompson, who chaired the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures committee last session, will chair a select committee dealing with youth health and safety issues.
The vast majority of the 8 Democrats appointed to House committee chairmanships either did not join in the Democrats’ quorum bust to Washington DC last session or returned early to help re-establish a quorum. The committees that Democrats will chair have historically handled non-controversial subject matter that does not fall along partisan lines.
In making committee assignments, Speaker Phelan emphasized his desire to place members on committees where they could best utilize their skills for the benefit of Texas.
“The issues facing our great state will require thorough conversations and collaboration inside the Texas House, and our chamber does its best work when lawmakers use their skill sets and strengths to work together and build consensus,” Speaker Phelan said. “These assignments were made after careful consideration and extensive reflection, taking into account the committee preferences expressed by each member as well as the diverse talents they bring to the table — a combination that will help drive our chamber’s success and impact on issues facing Texans this legislative session.”
Republicans will be chairing committees that will be handling issues that are of most significant importance to grassroots conservative activists. State Representative Stephanie Klick, who supports legislation prohibiting healthcare providers from providing gender transition or gender modification procedures and treatments to children, was re-appointed to chair the Public Health committee.
State Representative Reggie Smith, an attorney who formerly served as Chairman of the Grayson County Republican Party, will serve as Chairman of the Elections committee. Republican Brad Buckley will chair the Public Education Committee. Longtime Republican State Representative Todd Hunter was appointed Chairman of the State Affairs committee.
A complete list of House committee assignments can be found here.