A couple of notes on committee assignments
Today, both speakers released their committee assignments. There are a couple of things to note here.
Sen. Mae Beavers did not retain her powerful post as Judiciary Chair. In fact, she’s not even on that committee anymore. Instead, Sen. Brian Kelsey will be in charge of that committee. You may remember back in 2009, at the height of the Susan Lynn/Kent Williams harassment issue, then-House member Kelsey offered to cease criticism of Williams in exchange for the House Judiciary chairmanship. Now, 4 years later, he holds the top spot in the Senate committee.
I don’t really see this as a huge surprise, because there had been some rumblings about her possible replacement for the past few months. At an avail with Ramsey back in November, he declined to commit to her as chair. I’m trying to remember the context in how the question even came up, but it’s eluding me right now. However, at that point, it became pretty clear that we shouldn’t be shocked if she was replaced.
Wine in Grocery stores proponents and opponents both have something to cheer about when looking at committee assignments. Ramsey admitted today he did try to appoint the members of the State and Local Committee to give the issue at least a “fighting chance” of making it to a floor vote. On the other side of the Capitol, the State Government committee doesn’t look favorable for passage. I did ask House sponsor Rep. Jon Lundberg about it, and he suggested some of those usual “no” votes might not be against the referendum option. At best, its outlook is murky.
Finally, Harry Brooks will be at helm of the House Education Committee. That committee will be taking up huge education issues this year, such as vouchers, parent trigger laws and a statewide charter authorizer. Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh took to Twitter to complain about his exclusion from the committee, accusing Harwell of trying to pave the way for vouchers without dissent.