Reshuffling at Capitol affects education posts

STAFF REPORT

A reshuffling of committee chairmanships by Lt. Governor David Dewhurst last week now has Sen. Dan Patrick leading the Texas Senate’s Education Committee.

Patrick, like Dewhurst, supports school choice, or vouchers, where parents could remove their child from a public school and send that child to a private school using state funds.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, who has chaired the Senate Higher Education Committee since 2009, was replaced by Sen. Kel Seliger who was rumored to want the Senate Education Committee post.

Zaffirini was moved over to lead the Government Organization Committee.

That’s “where important sunset legislation – including bills relating to the Higher Education Coordinating Board – will be considered this session,” Dewhurst said in his release.

Along with House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, Zaffirini will continue to co-chair the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency, created in 2011.

“All the moves were about realigning specific members’ talents to where they would be best aligned,” said Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch. “There are a lot of problems coming up in the upcoming session. The lieutenant governor made decisions based off where he thought senators could find conservative solutions to these problems.”

Zaffirini told reporters, “I’m disappointed in not being higher education chair, because that is my passion and it is one of the reasons that I ran.”

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