Is The Interim Over Already?

Speaker Craddick hands out the interim committee appointments.

Like the 2008 presidential elections seeming to have already started, the lege is beginning to gear up for the 2009 session. Over the last week, Speaker Tom Craddick has made a series of announcements to committees that will start to develop new policy. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has yet to make his picks, so it will be interesting to see whether he compliments or counters Craddick's choices with his appointees.

The real highlight for Austin readers is that local Democrat Dawnna Dukes get two appointments on two groups – Medicaid, and Sporting Goods Sales Tax. But for you hardened lege watchers, more appointments below the fold.

Environmental Flows Advisory Group – Founded last session under House Bill 3, the committee will look at the thorny issue of water management in Texas. As his three picks to the nine-person board, Craddick selected reps Robert Puente, D-San Antonio, Mike Hamilton, R-Mauriceville, and Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker. Dewhurst picks three of the remaining six members of the committee from the Senate, while Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Water Development Board, and Parks and Wildlife Commission get one seat each.

Joint Legislative Task Force on the Use of the Sales Tax on Sporting Goods – a long name with potentially a big impact, since sporting goods sales tax is an important part of Parks and Wildlife funding. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, and Dawnna Dukes all get a seat at the table.

Medicaid Reform Legislative Oversight Committee – The second appointment for Dukes, who joins John Davis, R-Houston, Dianne Delisi R-Temple, and John Zerwas, R-Katy, to look into changing Medicaid costs. Meaning, cost to the state.

Interim Committee to Study the Feasibility for Reimbursement of Builder's Damages – Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, and Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, join the entire membership of the House State Affairs Committee on this committee. Created under HB 1038, it will look into creating a fund for people who suffer damages from builders who breach or fail to reach code.

Criminal Justice Legislative Oversight Committee – Houston in the House, with Dem Sylvester Turner and GOPer Debbie Riddle joining two senators in making recommendations on how to reform law enforcement.

Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Cultural and Historical Commission – Harold Dutton, D-Houston, will join one senator, five public members appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, and the Historical Commission's Executive Director and their one pick.

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Legislature, Interim, Committee Appointments, Speaker Tom Craddick, Dawnna Dukes

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