AUSTIN – Today, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement announcing the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans. Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, will serve as Chair. Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, will serve as Co-Vice Chairs. Upon forming the committee, Lt. Gov. Patrick issued the following statement:
“In response to Gov. Abbott’s request today, as President of the Texas Senate, I am naming the following members to the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans:
Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, Chair
Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, Co-Vice Chair
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, Co-Vice Chair
Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury
Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen
Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler
Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas
Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo
“Chairman Nichols is an engineer by profession, Sen. Creighton is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Higher Education and Sen. Kolkhorst is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. These three leaders have the experience and knowledge to lead this important committee. The committee members also represent a cross section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.
“Gov. Abbott has asked us to study 5 important areas:
“I have asked Chair Nichols to hold his hearing on June 23 or a date shortly thereafter. I want 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. I have asked Chair Nichols to coordinate with the House of Representatives Chair to hold their hearings on the same date, if possible, to accommodate both invited and public witnesses.
“Before creation of this committee, last week, I sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, to request an extension through the end of the next legislative session for applying for school safety grants, which were set to expire on May 31. There is still nearly $14 million in the fund that schools could still request. The letter can be found here.
“We will also be working with Attorney General Paxton’s office to ensure payments from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund, once approved, are expedited.
“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.”