Posted at the Texas Tribune:
All the schmoozing and strategizing involved in seeking the job of Texas House Speaker is worth it come February, when the leader of the lower chamber gets to choose the chairmen of committees, who have the power to stop, slow or speed legislation through the process.
Last session, Republicans held just over two-thirds of the chairmanships in a House that was almost evenly divided along party lines. But this session has a much greater Republican majority — a supermajority, in fact — leaving open questions about who will get which choice slots. Adding to the uncertainly is planned or unplanned attrition: A close look at the 34 standing committees from the 2009 session reveals that more than a quarter of the chairmen won’t be returning, having retired or lost their reelection bids.