(Austin, TX)-- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is keeping one Democrat in a chairmanship in the state Senate. Patrick announced Senate committee assignments on Monday, reappointing John Whitmire to chair the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Some conservative activists have been calling on Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan, of Beaumont, to ban Democrats from leading any committees. The House in particular has a tradition of appointing committee chairs from the minority party. Phelan says the practice contributes to a sense of unity in the House.