Lieutenant Governor Patrick appointed Senate Committees for the 88th Legislative Session on January 23rd. As expected, rather than appoint a free-standing committee for higher education, the lieutenant governor created a subcommittee for higher education in the Education Committee. The following senators received education appointments:
Senate Committee on Education
Brandon Creighton, Chair, Senate District 4, The Woodlands Donna Campbell, Vice Chair, Senate District 25, New Braunfels Paul Bettencourt, Senate District 7, Houston Brian Birdwell, Senate District 22, Waco Peter Flores, Senate District 24, Pleasanton Phil King, Senate District 10, Weatherford Morgan LaMantia, Senate District 27, South Padre Island José Menéndez, Senate District 26, San Antonio Mayes Middleton, Senate District 11, Galveston Tan Parker, Senate District 12, Flower Mound Angela Paxton Senate District 8, Allen Drew Springer, Senate District 30, Wichita Falls Royce West, Senate District 23, Dallas
Senate Committee on Education, Subcommittee on Higher Education Brandon Creighton, Chair, Senate District 4, The Woodlands Mayes Middleton, Vice Chair, District 11, Galveston Phil King, District 10, Weatherford Drew Springer, District 30, Muenster Royce West, District 23, Dallas
The subcommittee structure means that higher education issues will have two committee exposures. The subcommittee will consider bills, and then make recommendations to the Senate Education Committee for passage. Thus, communication with both committees will be very important.
What You Can Do
Act now to open good lines of communications with the Senate committees! Especially if you are a constituent of one of the Senators, call or email their offices and consider making the following points:
Congratulate members of the Higher Education Subcommittee for their appointments.
Emphasize the importance of higher ed policy in Texas, and observe that as one of a five member subcommittee their work will be crucial.
Congratulate the members of the Senate Education Committee who are not on the Higher Education Subcommittee on their appointments, and urge them to fully engage on higher education issues when they come before the full committee.
Advise all members that faculty will be working on critical issues related to funding, rigor, academic freedom, and tenure, and will be in contact with them throughout the legislative session.
Offer help on issues if questions or needs arise in the senate offices.
These kinds of communications are very valuable as the session accelerates into weekly committee hearings, identifying us as an informed resource. They can lead to good access at critical moments in the future when we go to offices with specific requests on specific legislation.
This report was provided by TACT Legislative Director Beaman Floyd.