Creighton named Chair of Senate Education
With Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) stepping down from the Senate, we knew the Senate Education Committee would have a new leader. Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick named Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) to that post. Senator Creighton has been serving as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, and the Lt. Governor announced that the two committees would be combined, with Higher Education becoming a subcommittee of the larger Education Committee, which will be chaired by Creighton.

Senator Angela Paxton (R-McKinney) was promoted to the role of Vice Chair, replacing retiring Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville). Additionally, Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) was named to fill a vacancy on the committee.

Senator Creighton was first elected to the Senate in 2014, following seven years serving in the Texas House. Prior to serving as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Creighton was the Chair of the Select Senate Committee on Ports. You can view a list of the school districts in the newly drawn SD 4 here. There are five Texas School Coalition school districts represented by the new Chair: Deer Park ISD, Galveston ISD, Goose Creek CISD, Sabine Pass ISD, and Texas City ISD.

We previously reported that the Lt. Governor named Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) to Chair the Senate Finance Committee, in place of retiring Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), back in January.
House Interim Committee Charges
Speaker Dade Phelan released the interim charges for House committees earlier this month. If you would like to see the full list of charges, you can access that on the House website here. Or if you prefer a scaled down version focused on the charges that pertain to public education in some form or fashion, we have that edited down version here.

Senate committees have not yet received their interim charges.
Commissions and task forces
For those of you who are keeping score, we have a lot to keep track of this interim. In addition to the usual legislative committee activity we have come to expect each interim (although the last interim didn't involve any actual committee hearings), there are several other commissions and task forces to keep track of.

Since our last update, this Task Force has broadened its membership to include 24 additional teachers. Those teachers have not yet been named. There is a call for nominations for teachers to fill those 24 spots, with an April 1 deadline.

This Commission has already had one meeting, and the next time they will meet again is on March 30. The appointed members of the Commission include legislators, parents, a superintendent, an ESC representative, and it is Chaired by Rex Gore from SBEC.

Certified mediator Stacey Neal Combest of Huntsville will serve as Chair of the Commission. She is also the parent of a special needs son. Joining her on the Commission are: Senators Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), and Judith Zaffirini (D-Lardeo), as well as Representatives Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint), Dan Huberty (R-Humble), and Jacey Jetton (R-Sugar Land). This group conducted their first meeting on March 17, at which they heard an overview of special education in Texas, special education finance, and federal funding for special education.
Mark your calendar now for our Legislative Planning Workshop coming up June 8-9 in Dallas. We will begin at 11 am on Wednesday, June 8, break late in the afternoon and then reconvene the following morning and conclude by 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 9, to allow time for everyone to travel. We'll assess the current state of affairs, make some projections about what to expect, and work to make plans and establish priorities. We hope you will make plans to join us! More details to come.
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