Committee work begins

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We are now a few weeks into the 86th Legislative Session. Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have been officially inaugurated for second terms, hundreds of bills have been filed, and even more visitors have come through my office. And, perhaps most significantly, Senators were assigned to Senate committees.

Senate committees are based on policy areas. The Texas Senate has 16 different committees this year––each one is composed of 5 to 15 Senators, two of which lead the committee as Chair and Vice Chair. Each Senator must be on at least one committee (most are on three or more) and every bill, after it is filed, must be referred by the Lt. Governor to the committee most relevant to the subject matter of the bill. Given the amount of legislation that comes through the Texas Capitol and the limited duration of a legislative session, committees are where legislation is first heard for public hearing, and can be amended and modified the most.

Committee membership is entirely determined by the Lt. Governor. I was appointed to four Senate committees, all of which reflect my life experiences, interests, or Senate District 19. Those committees are: Finance, Natural Resources and Economic Development, Criminal Justice, and Health and Human Services.

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