Targets Campus Free Speech and Establishes Select Committee on Election Security
AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his final list of the 81 interim legislative charges he is asking the Texas Senate to study in advance of the 2019 legislative session. He issued 25 interim charges last month directly related to issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey.
Charges for the Senate Education Committee and the Higher Education Committee, the State Affairs Committee, the Business and Commerce Committee, the Criminal Justice Committee, the Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee, the Administration Committee and the Select Committee on Election Security were released today.
“The Texas Senate will continue to take the lead in transforming our conservative principles into sound public policy. These charges are serious directives that reflect both my priorities and the priorities of the Texas Senate. They will require a lot of work in a short amount of time but I have complete confidence in the leadership and commitment of my committee chairs and the senators who serve on these committees. I know that when their reports come back later this interim, they will provide a clear path for Texas on the best way to address the policy challenges we are facing,” Patrick said.
The lieutenant governor asked the State Affairs Committee to look at freedom of speech on college campuses to make sure there are no restrictions on the right of Texas students to express their views on campus. The charge also directs the Committee to look at freedom of the press, freedom of religion and right to assembly on Texas campuses.
In light of recent election irregularities in Texas, the lieutenant governor also established a Select Committee on Election Security which will be chaired by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola. Senators Joan Huffman, R-Houston, Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, Don Huffines, R-Dallas, Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo and Borris Miles, D-Houston will serve as members. The select committee will make recommendations to safeguard the integrity of elections, and ensure the will of the people is reflected through their ballot and carried out in presidential elections.
The 106 total new interim charges were determined by the lieutenant governor’s policy priorities and almost 800 suggestions from Texas Senators. The second wave of interim charges is posted here.