At 5:30 in the evening last Friday, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst released Texas Senate Committee assignments and some bad news to those hoping that the legislature might find a way to fund Texas public schools.
Democrats lost influence in the Education Committee. They held four of nine positions in the committee in the 82nd legislature; they hold three of nine positions in the 83rd session.
Perhaps more significant than the numerical move, is who moved. Democrat, Wendy Davis was taken off and three freshmen Republican Senators jumped on to education. Davis, who has twice previously served on the Senate Education Committee, has had a hand in legislation that would increase the guaranteed amount of state and local funds per student.
Despite the change in makeup of the Education Committee, the Legislature may be forced to give back at least part of the more than 5.4 billion dollars it cut from public school funding last session because of a pending lawsuit that a group of public school districts have brought against the state.
Regardless of how the lawsuit turns out, I hope all members of the Senate Education Committee remember that there is a portion of our state constitution that reads,
“A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”
On Wednesday, the University Democrats will conduct its officer elections for spring 2013. These are important because UDems will play an important advocacy role on behalf of students and young people next semester. Nominees in contested races were asked to submit candidacy statements to The Texas Monitor. Continue reading
The battle to replace the late Sen. Mario Gallegos (D-Houston) is fully underway. Rep. Carol Alvarado and former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia have been fundraising, blockwalking, volunteering, picking up endorsements and so much more. A runoff is expected with multiple candidates throwing their hat in the ring, including Republican RW Bray. There is only one thing missing from this race… an election day.
The Texas Democratic Party’s Executive Committee (SDEC) will be meeting informally on December 8, 2012 to discuss and outline a game plan for the 2014 election cycle. In addition to fundraising and strategic goals for each region, early candidate recruitment is going to be essential if Democrats hope to find a viable path towards victory.
Republicans have already announced their bids for statewide offices. Greg Abbott seems to be interested in the Governor’s Mansion. Todd Staples has his website up and running for Lt. Governor. George P. Bush is now doing some statewide fundraising in his not-yet-declared bid for land commissioner. Continue reading