Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Faces on State House Committees


There are a lot of fresh faces on the 26 different Committees and Appropriations Subcommittees in the State House this year, and that's not just because 21 of the 101 state representatives are newly-elected freshmen.

An analysis shows that retention of committee memberships from the last legislative session to this upcoming session (excluding two new committees and the 2011 freshmen) ranged from a high of 73% to a low of 20%. On average, 46% of committee members from the 2009-2010 term were re-appointed.

House Speaker Kris Steele's stated purpose in assigning committee memberships was to "match members to committees in a way that will best utilize each legislator's gifts and talents."

Two committees that did not exist last term were formed for this term: Insurance, and Long-term Care & Senior Services. Two committees were formed by merging committees, and one Appropriations subcommittee was split into two.

When freshmen are taken out of the equation, the retention rate is as follows:

Public Health: 73%
Energy & Utility Regulation: 72%
Veterans & Military Affairs: 70%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources & Regulatory Services: 70%
Agriculture, Wildlife & Environment: 69%
General Government: 67%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education: 67%
Common Education: 64%
Higher Education & Career Tech: 50%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health & Social Services: 50%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety: 50%
Appropriations & Budget: 47%
Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services: 45%
Human Services: 45%
Judiciary: 43%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services: 43%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Judiciary: 43% 
Public Safety: 38%
Government Modernization: 30%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation: 30%
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Transportation: 25%
Transportation: 23% 
Rules: 23%
Administrative Rules & Government Oversight: 20%

On the 24 committees that carried over, 11 chairmen and 6 vice-chairmen were retained. 2 chairmen and 6 vice-chairmen were demoted, but stayed on the committee, while 4 vice-chairs were promoted to chair. 7 new chairmen and 13 new vice-chairmen were placed on committees they were not previously members of.

Committee-by-committee details after the jump.


Appropriations & Budget

This committee previously had 17 members, and currently has 17 members. 8 of the members were on this committee last term. The chairman is Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), who was not on the A&B Committee previously. However, the vice-chairman (Scott Martin, R-Norman) was vice-chairman last term. This committee has no freshmen representatives on it.

Human Services: 45%

Last term, this committee had 11 members - it now has 13. Five of the members are carry-overs from 2009-2010. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa) returns as chair, and second-term legislator Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher) makes his first appearance on the committee, as vice-chairman. Wade Rousselot (D-Okay) was vice-chairman last term.

Government Modernization

This committee has grown from 9 members to 13, three of which were also members last cycle. The chairman remains Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), but the vice-chairman is new to the committee - Wes Hilliard (D-Sulphur). David Derby (R-Owasso) was demoted from vice-chair.

Higher Education & Career Tech

Last session, there were 13 members on this committee. That has been expanded to 18 (7 were also members last term). Chairman is still Todd Thomsen (R-Ada), and the vicechair - again, new to the committee - is Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs).

General Government

This committee has grown from 11 to 15 members, 8 of which were carried over. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan), vice-chairman last term, has been promoted to chairman. Mike Christian (R-OKC) was a member of the committee last year, and is now vice-chair. Ex-chair Lisa Billy (R-Purcell) is still a committee member.

Energy & Utility Regulation

This committee, expanded from 25 to 27 members, has the second-highest retention rate; 18 members were on this committee last year. John Trebilcock (R-Broken Arrow) is the new chairman, and Mike Jackson (R-Enid) is the new vice-chairman. Past vice-chairman Weldon Watson (R-Tulsa) is still on the committee. Only two freshman legislators were appointed to this coveted committee: David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow) and Marty Quinn (R-Claremore). Quinn is an insurance agent with Shelter Insurance, and Brumbaugh is president and owner of DRB Industries LLC, a company that deals extensively in the energy field.

Public Health

This committee had the greatest decrease in members, from 21 down to 14. Eight members were retained from the 2009-2010 term. John Enns (R-Enid) is the new chairman, and David Derby (R-Owasso) kept his vice-chairmanship. Enns was not on this committee before.

Administrative Rules & Government Oversight

There were 12 members on this committee in 2009-2010, and there are 12 members for the 2011-2012 term. George Faught (R-Muskogee), vice-chairman last term, is now chairman, and Purcy Walker (D-Elk City) is the new vice-chair. This committee had the highest turnover of all the committees, as only two members were carried over (Faught; and Mike Reynolds, R-OKC).

Veterans & Military Affairs

This committee grew from 12 members to 14 members, 7 of which were carried over (the third highest rate). Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) is the new chairman, and Lewis Moore (R-Edmond) is the new vice-chair. Wesselhoft was not on the committee before, and the ex-chairman (Gary Banz, R-Midwest City) is still on the committee.

Judiciary

This committee had 11 members before, now it has 17 (6 of which were previously members). The old vice-chair, Fred Jordan (R-Jenks), was promoted to chairman. Colby Schwartz (R-Yukon) is now on the committee as vice-chair.

Transportation

Another of the coveted committees, due to the relative power (and campaign contributions) that comes with it, this grew from 11 members to 20. Only three members were carried over. This included T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) and Charlie Joyner (R-Midwest City), the previous (and current) chair and vice-chair. This committee is tied for the second-highest percentage and number of freshman members, with 7 (35%) newly-elected legislators. This committee is also tied for the second-lowest retention percentage at 23%.

Public Safety

This committee grew from 12 to 17 members, five of which were also on it last session. The chair (Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa) and vice-chair (Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville) remain the same.

Agriculture, Wildlife & Environment

This 20-member committee combined the Agriculture & Rural Development (14 members) and Wildlife (11 members) committees. Nine current members were on one of the two committees that now form this one. The chairman, Phil Richardson (R-Minco), chaired the Wildlife committee. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) is now the vice-chair, after having served on the Agriculture & Rural Development committee last session. John Enns (R-Enid) was the Ag & Rural Development vice-chair last term. This committee is tied for the second-highest percentage and number of freshman members, with 7 (35%) of the members belonging to the freshman class of legislators.

Common Education

This committee has grown from 13 to 16 members, 7 of which were carried over. The chair remains the same, Ann Coody (R-Lawton), but Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa) has replaced Sally Kern (R-OKC) as vice-chair.

Rules

There are now 15 members on this committee, up from 11. Three members remain on the committee from last term. Both the chairman (Gary Banz, R-Midwest City) and vice-chairman (Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa) are new to the committee. This committee is tied for the second-lowest retention percentage at 23%.

Insurance

Charles Key (R-OKC) chairs this new 14-member committee, and Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) is the vice-chair.

Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services

This is another combo-committee; they combined the Business & Economic Development (14 members) and the International Relations & Tourism (12 members) committees to form a 21-member committee. 9 current members served on one of the two old committees. Randy McDaniel (R-Edmond) is the new chairman, and Charles Ortega (R-Altus) is vice-chair. Last term, Dan Sullivan (R-Tulsa) was chair and McDaniel was vice-chair of Business & Economic Development.

Long-term Care & Senior Services

This committee was brought back after a one-term absence. Sally Kern (R-OKC) now chairs it, with R.C. Pruett (D-Antlers) as vice-chair. Two members (Ann Coody and David Dank) were on this committee in 2007-2008. Dank was the chief advocate of bringing this committee back.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation

This committee stays at 11 members, three of whom were members last term. David Dank (R-OKC) is the new chairman, and Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) is the new vice-chairman. Ownbey was on the committee last session.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Education

This committee shrank from 14 to 12 members (6 carry-overs). Lee Denney (R-Cushing) stays on as chair, and Corey Holland (R-Marlow) has been promoted to vice-chair.

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Transportation

 As with the majority of the Appropriations subcommittees, this shrank from 14 to 12 members (3 carry-overs). Guy Liebmann (R-OKC) kept his chairmanship, and Harold Wright (R-Weatherford) was brought in as vice-chair. This committee, as well as the Appropriations & Budget committee, has no freshman member.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health & Social Services

This committee now has 12 members, down from 13 (4 were carried-over). Doug Cox (R-Grove) is still chairman, and Marian Cooksey (R-Edmond) is now vice-chair. Cooksey was not previously on the committee.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services

This committee went from 13 to 10 members, with 3 members who were previously on it. Ron Peters (R-Tulsa) is still chairman, but Jason Nelson (R-OKC) is now on the committee as vice-chairman.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources & Regulatory Services

This committee had 13 members last term, but now has 11 (7 carry-overs). Both chairman Don Armes (R-Faxon) and vice-chair Leslie Osborn (R-Tuttle) were on the committee last year, but were simply members. Skye McNeil (R-Bristow) was vice-chair, but is still on the committee.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety

Originally the 13-member Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety & Judiciary, this has been split into two subcommittees with 10 members. Three members of this subcommittee were carried over. The chair (Lisa Billy, R-Purcell) and vice-chair (Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow) were not on the subcommittee last term. This subcommittee has the highest percentage of freshman members at 40% (4 of 10).

Appropriations Subcommittee on Judiciary

Originally the 13-member Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety & Judiciary, this has been split into two subcommittees with 10 members. Three members of this subcommittee were carried over. Gus Blackwell now sits on this subcommittee as chairman, and Mark McCullough (R-Sapulpa), the old vice-chair of the old committee, is vice-chairman.

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