January 18, 2007
Get yer committee assignments here

Catching up a bit from my trip: Republican blog Wilco Wise prints a list of House committee chairs that it says it got from a tipster. Maybe it's accurate, maybe it's not - Vince is skeptical - but it's some interesting reading. For what it's worth, I'd heard a rumor about Aaron Pena getting the Criminal Jurisprudence chair during the Speaker's race, so either that one has some credibility, or we all ultimately have the same sources (a distinct possibility). Either way, it's worth your time to look. On a related note, Eye on Williamson has an observation about allegedly soon-to-be-former chair Buddy West.

Meanwhile, the Senate announced its committee memberships (PDF) late last week. As noted by the Chron, Senator Danno got the kind of assignments he'd been hoping for:

Houston's new state senator, talk show host Dan Patrick, will serve as vice chair of the Senate International Relations and Trade Committee, giving him a key voice in the state's role on immigration and border issues.

Border security and illegal immigration were central themes in Patrick's campaign to succeed former Sen. Jon Lindsay, who retired.

Besides that position, Patrick will serve on the Intergovernmental Relations and Health and Human Services committees, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has announced. He also will serve on the Higher Education and the newly formed Flooding & Evacuations subcommittees.


There was talk before the legislative session that Patrick, R-Houston, would get sidelined when it came to choice committee assignments because of his on-air criticism of lawmakers from both parties, who he says fall short of his conservative standards.

"The joke was, let's see what committee assignments the lieutenant governor gives him," Patrick said. "Some people were expecting me to be on all small committees. They were surprised with the quality committee assignments I received."

Patrick said he is pleased with his appointments.

"I will have a front-row seat and voice on two issues that make up almost 90 percent of the state's budget," Patrick said, referring to heavy state expenditures on education and health and human services.

He also noted that the property tax cap bill -- a touchstone for him and other conservatives -- was sent to the Intergovernmental Relations Committee during the last session, and he hopes it is sent there again.

"The truth is, after 10 years of talk radio, I am well-versed in these issues," Patrick said. "If you look at the committees I was assigned to, they all have a strong link between issues I'm interested in or issues important to Harris County."

Well congratulations, you got what you wanted. Talk about Lt. Gov. Dewhurst being cowed aside, I'll remind you that the Lite Guv was everybody's pleasant surprise from the 78th Lege back in 2003. He did a lot to try and be fair to each Senator, so it's not exactly out of character for him to take Danno seriously. All I'll say is that Danno is now the dog that finally caught a car. What are you going to do with it, now that you really have the opportunity? The soft bigotry of low expectations is not always a curse, after all.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 18, 2007 to That's our Lege

Interesting assignments.

I would suggest that, rather than Dewhurst being cowed by Patrick, he is forcing him out in the open a bit. It's one thing for him to crow on the radio about issues, quite another to cast votes. Particularly if the Senate achieves any kind of "compromise" on say, immigration issues, it may damage Patrick's purist credentials with his radio audience.

Listening to KSEV and reading Lone Star Times, you can already pick up grumbling that Dan has sold out. (Remember when he reversed himself and started taking lobby money after denouncing it?)

It will be fun to watch.

Posted by: houtopia on January 18, 2007 9:17 AM