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January 23, 2015      6:28 PM

HK: A quick down and dirty look at committee assignments from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Some traditions, some surprises, social conservatives own State Affairs, and Estes pays the highest price

Though they only make up about half of the Senate Republican Caucus, the eight GOP freshman got either chairmanships or vice-chairmanships when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced committee assignments late Friday. Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, is the sole freshman chairman at Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs.

In some ways the most interesting committee is State Affairs, which looks to be a gift to social conservatives. Chaired by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, the committee appears to be the most skewed in partisan makeup.  While most committees appear to honor the two-thirds to one third Republican vs Democratic makeup of committees of the Texas Senate, the committee through which most social issues will flow has two Democrats and seven Republicans. 

As many observers expected, there are two Democratic committee chairs—Senate Dean John Whitmire, D-Houston, retains Criminal Justice and Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, takes over Intergovernmental Relations. Both took decidedly conciliatory tones in Wednesday’s rules debate. Lucio was the lone Democrat to vote “yes.”

By Harvey Kronberg