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House announces committee chairs

House Speaker Andy Tobin (File Photo)

House Speaker Andy Tobin set the House committee chairmanships today, offering the first look into who will control the flow of legislation in the House of Representatives for the 51st Legislature, which begins its work in January.

The total number of House committees increased by one to 18, with several new committees being formed, several morphing into different committees, and several going by the wayside.

While five returning lawmakers held on to their old posts, only returning legislators were granted chairmanships, and most were moved to new committees.

SWAPPING POSTS

The all-powerful Rules Committee will be chaired by Rep. Bob Robson, who will replace outgoing Rep. Jerry Weiers. Robson served in the House from 2001-08, then returned in 2010 after leaving because of term limits.

The Ways and Means Committee will be taken over by Rep. Debbie Lesko, who will replace retiring Rep. Jack Harper.

The Transportation Committee will be headed up by Rep. Karen Fann, who will replace Rep. Vic Williams. Williams did not seek re-election to the Legislature.

The Health Committee, formerly Health and Human Services, will be chaired by Rep. Heather Carter. The chair of the old committee, Rep. Cecil Ash, was elected to a justice of the peace post this year.

Rep. Tom Forese will take over the Commerce Committee from Rep. JD Mesnard, who has been named speaker pro tem.

Rep. Brenda Barton will head up the Agriculture and Water Committee, replacing Rep. Russ Jones, who lost in the August primary.

With Forese off the Higher Education, Innovation and Reform Committee, Rep. Jeff Dial will take over the renovated Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.

Rep. Justin Pierce will chair the Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee, a revamped version of the old Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee. That panel had been led by Rep. David Gowan, who is the new majority leader.

NEW COMMITTEES

The new Reform and Human Services Committee will be headed up by Rep. Steve Montenegro, who previously served as speaker pro tem.

The Financial Institutions Committee will be run by Rep. Kate Brophy McGee. It replaces the Banking and Insurance Committee.

Rep. Justin Olson will chair the new Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee.

Rep Phil Lovas will lead the new Insurance and Retirement Committee. The Employment and Regulatory Affairs Committee, formerly headed by Robson, will also be cut.

RETURNING CHAIRS

Rep. John Kavanagh will once again chair the much-coveted Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Doris Goodale will keep her post as the Education Committee chair.

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth will continue heading up the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti held on to her position leading the Government Committee.

Rep. David Stevens will keep his post as chair of the Technology and Infrastructure Committee.

Rep. Frank Pratt will lead the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. He formerly chaired the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has now been combined with the Environment Committee that Rep. Amanda Reeve chaired. She did not win re-election.

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