AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has named Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. In naming Senate Committee appointments for the 86th Legislative Session, Lieutenant Governor Patrick also named Senator Kolkhorst to be a member of the Senate Committees on Finance, Transportation, Nominations and Water and Rural Affairs.
"I’m grateful to the Lieutenant Governor for the opportunity to build a healthier state for all Texans," Kolkhorst said. "This is a time to work together so that our healthcare system is affordable, accessible, and accountable to everyone. My promise is to always listen to every side so that we can get results that touch lives and make a difference."
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services is one of the most influential Senate committees, responsible for setting public health policy for the state, regulating physicians and other healthcare professionals, and providing legislative oversight to state agencies and boards including the Health & Human Services Commission, Department of Family & Protective Services and the Texas Medical Board among many other health-related licensing agencies. No stranger to health policy, Kolkhorst previously served as Chair of the House Committee on Public Health for six years during her tenure in the House of Representatives. In addition to health policy, the committee chair also oversees nearly $80 billion of healthcare spending in the state budget.
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Kolkhorst will continue to serve as a key budget writer for the states' budget, which is estimated to be well over $200 billion for the 2020-2021 biennium. The state budget is familiar territory for Kolkhorst, who is recognized as the only lawmaker in Texas history to serve as a budget-writing conferee twice in both the House and Senate.
With Senator Kolkhorst's reappointment to the Transportation Committee, Kolkhorst will oversee the Texas Department of Transportation and will work with local officials on solving traffic problems and highway needs. With nearly a third of the Texas coastline located in Senate District 18, the committee oversees ports and navigation issues.
The authority to make governmental appointments is a power given to the Governor by the State Constitution. As a result, during each four-year term, a Governor will make approximately 3,000 appointments of state officials; members of state boards, commissions, councils, along with vacancies for state-elected and judicial offices. As a member of the Committee on Nominations, Senator Kolkhorst will confirm all appointees proposed by Governor Abbott.
As a member of the Water & Rural Affairs Committee, Kolkhorst will continue managing the future water needs of Texas. Being a member of this committee will be important to Senate District 18, where Kolkhorst has been a vocal advocate for local control over water and property rights, as well as the proper management of river basins. In addition to her standing committee assignment, Kolkhorst will continue to serve on the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee.