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January 23, 2019      5:17 PM

Budget discussions begin in earnest in the Texas Senate

TRS-Care and Harvey recovery front and center as well as economic impacts of the federal government shutdown

Texas Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has started the work of the budget immediately, promising wall-to-wall meetings and work groups through the end of February.

Yesterday laid out the protocol: Daily meetings. Fridays for overflow. Article I started immediately after the session’s supplemental bill was covered.

This is not new for most members of Senate Finance.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 23, 2019      3:32 PM

Updated: Speaker Bonnen releases Texas House committee assignments

"After thoughtful consideration, these committee assignments have been made to reflect the seniority and personal preferences of Members and the diverse demographics of the Texas House.”

Editor’s note: The full list of assignments is available to subscribers at the end of this story – SB

As expected, Speaker Dennis Bonnen on Wednesday unveiled the Texas House committee assignments for this session.

Before doing so, Bonnen said he did not “care what the narrative is in the blogosphere after these are announced.” Bonnen said that he and his team worked hard to put everyone in the right place but conceded “It's an impossibility to get it right.” He appointed his good friend Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, as Speaker Pro Tem.

"We will all work together," Bonnen said.

Here are some of the key committee chairmanships as announced this morning:

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By Scott Braddock

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January 23, 2019      3:25 PM

Patrick appoints Sen. Hall as Chair of Ag Committee

This after he stripped Sen. Seliger of the chairmanship earlier in the week

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January 22, 2019      5:06 PM

Updated: Sen. Seliger stripped of Ag Chairmanship

Patrick pulled the assignment after a weekend of bitter words between Sen. Seliger and Patrick’s senior adviser Sherry Sylvester

Editor’s note: This developing story has been updated throughout – SB

Frustrations between Chairman Kel Seliger and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick boiled over on Tuesday in dramatic fashion as the Texas Senate’s presiding officer curtly denied the Amarillo Republican entrance to a meeting of other GOP senators then took away the chairmanship the senior member had left.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 22, 2019      5:04 PM

Sounds like House committee assignments are coming out tomorrow

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January 22, 2019      5:03 PM

UT System shuttering federal relations office in DC

Bill Shute, who heads it up, says "The new chancellor has decided to reduce the System’s engagement with the federal government"

The UT System is closing its Office of Federal Relations in Washington as of May 1.

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By Scott Braddock

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January 22, 2019      2:00 PM

HK: Kremlin watching and the Senate Committee assignments

Seliger’s outsized influence, heavy lifters and a Legislature that is ultimately transactional

Parsing committee assignments is a little like Kremlin watching – particularly in the Texas Senate with only thirty-one Senators and sixteen committees.

Of course, of those sixteen committees only a handful are workhorse, but it does provide a little insight into the team the Lt. Governor is trying to weave and lays some predicates for the session to come.

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By Harvey Kronberg

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January 22, 2019      1:12 PM

Patrick denies Chair Seliger entrance to a meeting of GOP senators

Just off the Senate floor, Patrick told Seliger that he had not invited him to the meeting and he would meet with him separately later, per Houston Chronicle reporter Jeremy Wallace. This comes after harsh words were exchanged between Seliger and Patrick adviser Sherry Sylvester over committee assignments. Developing….

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January 18, 2019      5:00 PM

POTM school finance edition

With school finance front at center this session, we thought a look at where the players representing the various interests was appropriate

Editor’s note: This is Kimberly Reeves’ first attempt at a POTM-style article, so it lacks any complaints about hotel bars in Austin. Take it easy on her – SB

This session’s focus on school finance comes with a number of lobbyist moves within the education organizations that typically address the legislature.

Here is a handy rundown for you:

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 18, 2019      4:45 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick releases Senate committee assignments

Our sources were spot on, plus Kolkhorst gets HHS and Hughes is tapped for Senate Administration

The full list of assignments is available to subscribers.

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January 18, 2019      4:00 PM

People on the Move

Settling into session with new staffers, new lobby gigs, new spokespeople, a huge promotion, and the return of Trooper Cooper

With little to no details about how he would accomplish the goal, Gov. Greg Abbott this week promised the moon in his inaugural address, saying unequivocally that school finance will be fixed this session. After the swearing in, many of you were chattering about Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick seeming a bit “unfocused” in his address – regurgitating a questionable quote from Martin Luther King Jr., calling for bipartisanship while trashing the media, and comparing Abbott to Putin. To be fair I thought his joke was funny, if awkward. More on all that in the latest podcast.

Meantime, it has come to my attention that a longstanding rule at Quorum Report presents a bit of a challenge when reporting People on the Move. If you see me somewhere with a drink in my hand and share career news, it is by default off the record. Mr. Kronberg years ago instituted the policy that the presence of alcohol creates an off the record environment. So just to be sure, you still need to email me your career news at ksbraddock@gmail.com and put “POTM” in the subject line. Yes, this is my lame attempt at seeking absolution after forgetting someone last week.

Here’s the latest edition of POTM:

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By Scott Braddock

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January 18, 2019      11:34 AM

Breaking down the numbers: House adds $9 billion for public ed leaving the chambers $3 billion apart

Big questions remain including what the basic allotment will be

The House has proposed a staggering $9 billion in additional general revenue for public education this session, on top of the anticipated cost of additional school enrollment.

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By Kimberly Reeves

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January 18, 2019      11:33 AM

Senate sources: Seliger to lose higher ed, Buckingham to chair Nominations

Lt. Gov. and his staff said to be making calls, assignments expected before close of business

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January 16, 2019      2:27 PM

Rep. Chris Turner retains chairmanship of Texas House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Celia Israel is now Vice Chair

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January 16, 2019      12:05 PM

Lt. Gov. Patrick indicates Senate committees will be in place by next week

In a brief exchange with Chair Nelson on the floor, Patrick agreed that Senate Finance should be ready to work on the budget by Tuesday; the budget was referred to Finance today

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January 16, 2019      8:17 AM

Speaker Bonnen starts the year with $4.6 million cash on hand, Lt. Gov. Patrick has $9.3 million

Bonnen raised $4.1 million, Patrick raised $1.7 million

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