AUSTIN -- Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has shuffled a senior Democrat out of the higher education committee chairmanship and promoted conservative Republicans to key posts in a move to create a more conservative state Senate.
Dewhurst also eliminated two committees and one sub-committee to save money.
Texas's lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and chooses which lawmakers chair the committees that develop legislation. A committee chairman can determine if a law moves forward or stalls in committee.
Dewhurst removed senior Democratic Sen. Judith Zaffirini as chair of the higher education committee and replaced her with Republican Sen. Kel Seliger. He also promoted conservative commentator Sen. Dan Patrick to chair the education committee, in charge of public school.