Texas senate launches special committee following Uvalde shooting

Ali Linan, CNHI Texas statehouse reporter

Corsicana Daily Sun

Jun 1, 2022

AUSTIN — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named 11 state senators to a special committee to protect all Texans on Wednesday following a directive from Gov. Greg Abbott.

In a letter, Abbott asked Patrick and Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan to launch special committees to study five areas following the Uvalde tragedy last week: school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety. The request stopped short of asking legislators to look into gun reform.

“All of us working together is the answer. Now is not the time for politics. It is all about doing all we can so that we never see another tragedy like this happen again in Texas,” Patrick said in the release.

Patrick named Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston; Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury; Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler; Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; Sen. Bob Nichols, R-Jacksonville; Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock; Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas; and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

Nichols, an engineer by profession, will chair the committee. Creighton, chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, and Higher Education, and Kolkhorst, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, will serve as vice chairs of the special committee.

Patrick added that he asked Nichols to hold the first hearing on June 23 or shortly after “to give the families and the community of Uvalde time to complete all funeral services before beginning hearings so those who wish to testify may take part.”

While Republicans make up about 58% of the Texas senate, they make up about 73% of the committee. Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, was not on the list.

Nonetheless, Patrick said the committee members “represent a cross section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.”

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