In Charge

As chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, will help decide state funding for health care and response to the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Kolkhorst is pictured above during the 86th Legislative Session.

Wharton County’s representative in the Texas State Senate will continue her efforts to provide COVID-19 assistance during the current legislative session.

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, was reappointed to chair the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick last week.

The committee is tasked with managing nearly $80 billion of state health care spending, setting public health policy for the state, regulating physicians and other health care professionals, providing legislative oversight to state agencies and boards including the Health & Human Services Commission, Department of Family & Protective Services and the Texas Medical Board.

“I’m grateful to the lieutenant governor for giving me the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee and to continue finding solutions that protect public health and build a healthier Texas,” Kolkhorst said. 

work together to strike a balance between our public health priorities, civil liberties and economic freedoms.”

Kolkhorst also serves on the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel tasked with efficiently distributing the COVID-19 vaccine across the state. With more than one million doses in arms, the Texas distribution effort has been lauded as a national model.

Addressing the statewide major uptick in domestic violence linked in part to COVID-19 restrictions, Kolkhorst filed SB 343 requiring bond conditions to be entered into database easily accessible by law enforcement. If passed, this would allow police, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcers to quickly determine if a domestic violence offender is violating a judge-ordered mandate.

“Domestic violence has spiked during COVID-19 and that’s why we need more tools to protect victims,” Kolkhorst said. “I am proud to work with the Texas Council on Family Violence to pass this important legislation that will protect countless victims from future violence and prevent avoidable tragedies.”

Education is another forefront issue for Kolkhorst who filed SB 348 to ensure parents have the right to observe any and all virtual instruction and review any online teaching materials presented to their child. 

“As a longtime supporter of transparency, no parent should be left in the dark about what their child is learning online,” said Kolkhorst. “I have long believed that parental involvement in a child’s education is crucial to the success of the student and SB 348 will guarantee just that.” 

During this 87th Legislative Session, Kolkhorst will also serve on Finance, Natural Resources & Economic Development, Transportation, Water, Agriculture & Rural Affairs committees as well as the Select Committee on Texas Ports.

Starting her third term as the District 18 state senator, Kolkhorst previously served seven terms as a state representative. In between, she won a special election in December 2014, to complete the unexpired term of Glenn Hegar who left the office to become the state’s comptroller.

Kolkhorst earned recognition in Wharton County for her work with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Along with Harvey restorations, Kolkhorst led another successful bipartisan effort last session by authoring Senate Joint Resolution 24 and SB 26, the Sporting Goods Sales Tax dedication for state and historic parks, approved via the recent November Constitutional Amendment.

In recognition of her efforts during the 86th legislative session, Kolkhorst received honors and awards from the AARP of Texas, Texas Organization of Rural Community Hospitals, Texas Health Care Association, Texas Right to Life and the South Texas Property Rights Association.

During the 86th Legislative session, Kolkhorst served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and as a senior member on the Senate Committees of Finance, Transportation, Nominations and Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs. She also served on the Select Committee for Ports, State Water Infrastructure Fund Advisory Committee, and the Texas Agriculture Policy Board. 

Senate District 18 includes all or parts of the counties of Aransas, Austin, Burleson, Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington, and Wharton.

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