New Insurance Commissioner

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Julia Rathgeber, Governor Perry’s recent nominee to lead the State Insurance Commission, has been confirmed by the Senate. Rathgeber, a former aide for Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, was warmly received by the chamber’s Democrats, specifically Kirk Watson. From what I understand, she was confirmed unanimously. The astute will remember the plight of Eleanor Kitzman, a recess appointee to lead the Insurance Commission. Perry appointed her in 2011, and she was never received warmly by the Senate this session.

Good for the Senate for sticking to their guns, and good for Perry for working together with the upper chamber. The TDI has been way too corporate friendly for years, and this was a key complaint of Kitzman. Hopefully, Rathgeber will be a better match for the agency.

In other news, I failed to note on Friday evening a bill that was approved by a Senate panel. According to an article by the Statesman, it provides moneys from the rainy day fund for transportation infrastructure funding. However, it places the priority of this money somewhat low, such that it automatically cuts off if the rainy day fund’s reserve dip below $6,000,000,000.00 (Six Billion). The measure, since it affects the fund, is a constitutional amendment. Thus, it requires 2/3 votes in both Houses of the Legislature, as well as the approval of the voters of the State this November.