Lt. Governor David Dewhurst finalized Senate committee assignments earlier today. During the interim, the Lt. Governor made several changes in committee chairs, replacing departing members and shuffling some committee chairs.
Most legislation affecting the civil justice system will be referred to State Affairs or Jurisprudence. Senator Bob Duncan (R-Lubbock) retains the chair of Senate State Affairs, and Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) replaces retiring Senator Chris Harris (D-Arlington) as chair of Senate Jurisprudence.
In addition to Chairman Duncan, Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) will serve as Vice Chair of State Affairs. Senators Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), and Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) fill out the slate. These veteran senators have all served on this committee in previous sessions.
Three of the five freshman Republican senators are now assigned to Senate Jurisprudence. In addition to Chairman West, Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) will serve as Vice Chair of Jurisprudence. Remaining membership is composed of Senators Donna Campbell (R-San Antonio), John Carona (R-Dallas), Kelly Hancock (R-Richland Hills), and Ken Paxton (R-Dallas).
Senator Carona returns as Chair of Senate Business and Commerce. Freshman Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) joins the committee as Vice Chair, with members Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), Kelly Hancock, Eddie Lucio, Leticia Van de Putte, Kirk Watson (D-Austin), and Senate Dean John Whitmire (D-Houston).
Senator Deuell replaces retired Senator Mike Jackson as Chair of Senate Economic Development. Freshman Kelly Hancock will serve as Vice Chair, joined by Senators Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), Kevin Eltife, Troy Fraser, and Kirk Watson.