Opposition to Senate confirmation for Don McLeroy as chairman of the Texas State Board of Education appears to be hardening. Yesterday, Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, grilled McLeroy during a grueling hearing that lasted more than two hours. Both senators deserve hearty thanks from parents and other supporters of strong public schools for their efforts to expose the extremism that has turned the state board into a dysfunctional, deeply politicized mess.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Senate Nominations Committee chairman Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, thinks it could be difficult to get the necessary 21 votes (of 31 senators) for confirming McLeroy. Says Jackson:
“It’s my preference, if that is going to be the case, that we don’t bring him forward (to the Senate floor). There’s no sense in doing that.”
What would that mean? Let’s go to Article 4 of the Texas Constitution:
Sec. 12 (e) If the Senate, at a regular session, does not take final action to confirm or reject a previously unconfirmed recess appointee or another person nominated to fill the vacancy for which the appointment was made, the appointee or other person, as appropriate, is considered to be rejected by the Senate when the Senate session ends.
(f) If an appointee is rejected, the office shall immediately become vacant, and the Governor shall, without delay, make further nominations, until a confirmation takes place. If a person has been rejected by the Senate to fill a vacancy, the Governor may not appoint the person to fill the vacancy or, during the term of the vacancy for which the person was rejected, to fill another vacancy in the same office or on the same board, commission, or other body.
So if the Nominations Committee sits on it, the McLeroy confirmation is dead when the session ends on June 1. In that case, the governor would have to appoint someone else to serve as chairman of the state board. Does anyone interpret these sections of the Constitution differently?