Patrick merges Senate’s K-12 and higher education committees, appoints Creighton as chair
Date Posted: 3/22/2022 | Author: Mark Wiggins
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) is making changes to the Texas Senate’s committee structure, converting the Higher Education Committee to a new subcommittee of the Senate Education Committee. Patrick has appointed Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) as chair of the newly expanded committee during the interim.
The lieutenant governor announced the interim appointments in a press release Tuesday. The Senate Education Committee oversees K-12 public school policy and until recently was chaired by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), who declined to run for reelection.
Sen. Creighton has been the chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, which considers legislation pertaining to the governance of public colleges and universities. He also serves as vice chair of the 1836 Project Advisory Committee.
According to education-related voting records tracked by ATPE and maintained here on Teach the Vote, Creighton has consistently voted in favor of taxpayer-funded private school vouchers and legislation aimed at restricting educators’ rights to free speech and legislative advocacy. Last year he authored one of the high-profile social studies curriculum bills that restricted educators' discussions of controversial topics and current events in the classroom. Creighton was also one of few senators who voted against House Bill 3 in 2019 – the major school reform bill that injected considerable new funding into the public education system and raised teachers’ salaries.
Lt. Gov. Patrick appointed Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney) as vice-chair of the Education Committee, replacing retiring Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville). The lieutenant governor also added to the Education Committee Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), who previously served on the Higher Education Committee. The Senate Education Committee now consists of:
- Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), chair
- Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), vice-chair
- Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
- Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
- Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood)
- Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
- Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio)
- Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
- Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson)
- Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown)
- Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)
“Now more than ever, we must examine education needs as a continuum, from the earliest grades through post-secondary education,” Patrick said in the announcement. “The vast majority of jobs in Texas require students to continue their education beyond high school and there should be a seamless path throughout the educational experience.”
The appointments are effective immediately, and Creighton will chair both the Education Committee and Higher Education Subcommittee during the interim. According to the news release, both committees will continue to meet separately, and final committee assignments will be made prior to the beginning of the next legislative session in January 2023.
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