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Redistricting is a volatile process that can launch some political careers and end others. Dunnam noted that the Judiciary panel consists of eight Republicans and three Democrats, with no African American members and only two Hispanics. It was the Redistricting chairman’s decision, and not Straus’, to involve both committees in redistricting, but Dunnam said he wants to know why Straus has allowed it to occur.
“This is about getting more Republicans in on the fix,” Dunnam said.
Last month, Straus appointed Rep. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, the chairman of the House Republican Caucus, to an open spot previously held by a Republican on the Sunset Advisory Commission, which periodically reviews state agencies. Lawmakers covet appointments to the Sunset panel because its members tend to carry major pieces of legislation that can reshape the agencies they scrutinize.
Farrar and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, swiftly criticized the Taylor appointment because it left one Democrat and four Republicans on the panel.
“The speaker has had four chances to appoint members to the Sunset commission and only one of those appointments has been a Democrat,” Coleman said. “Anyone who doesn’t believe he is a dyed-inthe-wool conservative Republican isn’t paying attention to the appointments.”
Straus spokeswoman Tracy Young said the speaker can’t