Lt. Governor Names Sunset Appointees. On January 21, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced four new appointments to the Sunset Advisory Commission: Senators Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) and Angela Paxton (R-McKinney). Patrick also named Ralph Duggins, of Fort Worth, as the new the public member appointee. Duggins is a partner at Cantey Hanger, LLP law firm and serves as director of the Peregrine Fund and the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.
Lt. Governor Suggests Lowering Senate Vote Threshold. On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick raised the idea of lowering the threshold required to bring bills to the Senate floor if Republicans lose seats in the next election. Currently, 19 members of the 31-member Senate must agree to bring a bill to the floor. “I’m right there at that number, and if we lose one or two seats, then we might have to go to 16 next session,” Patrick said. “We might have to go to a simple majority because we will not be stopped in leading on federalism in the United States of America.”
Early Voting Begins in House Special Elections. Early voting began on Tuesday for three special runoff elections to fill vacancies in the Texas House of Representatives. Candidates have also filed their 8-day fundraising reports.
In Houston-area HD-28, formerly held by Republican John Zerwas, Democrat Elizabeth Markowitz raised $109,000 has $82,000 cash on hand; Republican Gary Gates raised $51,000 and has $16,000 cash on hand.
In HD-148, formerly represented by Democrat Jessica Farrar and also in the Houston area, Republican Luis La Rotta raised $20,000 and reported $13,000 cash on hand; Former Houston Independent School District Board Trustee Anna Eastman, a Democrat, raised $17,000, spent $46,000 and has $10,000 cash on hand.
Finally, in Dallas’s HD-100, formerly represented by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, Democrat Lorraine Birabil raised $11,000 and reported $19,000 cash on hand; James Armstrong, also a Democrat, did not report any contributions or the campaign’s cash-on-hand. All three special elections will be held on January 28.
Interim Committee Hearings. House Committees will meet for the following upcoming interim hearings:
- State Affairs: January 30 in Austin
- Ways & Means: February 5 in Austin
- Higher Education: February 11 in Austin
Senate Committees will meet for the following upcoming interim hearings:
- Intergovernmental Relations: January 28 in Brownsville
- Business & Commerce: February 6 in Austin
- Veterans Affairs & Border Security: February 24 in Harlingen
- Finance: February 25 in Austin
- Transportation: February 26 in Austin
In case you missed it, this week Texas Lobby Group’s Carrie Simmons joined A.J. Bingham’s podcast to discuss the joys, challenges and gamesmanship that is Texas lobbying! Click here to listen.
For other information on the Texas Legislature, see capitol.texas.gov.