House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and his stooge, Majority Leader Val Longhurst, having used deception and false promise to survive a leadership election last year, announced this session’s committee assignments, which of course is an incredibly important step in controlling the chamber and the fate of any bill that gets introduced in the House or sent to it by the much more progressive and Democratic Senate.
Here are the assignments:152-GA-House-Committees-Assignments-1.2.2023
“Our committees are a vital first stop for bills, where ideas are brought and publicly vetted, providing residents an opportunity to weigh in on measures and committee members an opportunity to ask questions and help shape the legislation that ultimately moves forward to become law,” Speaker Schwartzkopf said. “These committee leaders and members reflect the historic diversity of our chamber and will ensure that the interests of residents throughout the state are heard on various issues.”
Two committees from past sessions will be merged with other existing committees, reducing the total to 21 committees. Manufactured Housing has been merged with the Housing Committee, while the Energy Committee will be consolidated into the new Natural Resources & Energy Committee.
Half of the committees will be chaired by women, while a person of color will serve as chair and/or vice-chair of 13 different committees. Providing more opportunities for leadership, five first- and second-term representatives will serve as vice-chairs of committees for the first time.
That’s all well and good. But you have to look at the membership and chairs of the committee to see if Schwartzkopf and Longhurst have stacked them, as they always have before, with anti-progressive chairs who are willing to block or gut legislation in committee.
The Economic Everything Committee (formerly called the Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee) was the committee where, for years, the minimum wage increase bill was sent to die. The Chairs and Vice Chairs of this Committee remain conservatives Bill Bush and Bill Carson. So don’t expect much from that committee.
Carson will also be the Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee with the Senate, and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Oh yes, and Carson is also the Chair of the Agriculture committee. Do you want to give Lumpy anything else, Pete? Running out of conservative lackeys to do your bidding?
Schwartzkopf ally Debra Heffernan will chair the new National Resources & Engergy Committee. She will also co-chair the Bond (Capital Infrastructure) Committee. Fellow former police officer Rep. Franklin Cooke will chair the Public Safety Committee.
The good news out of these committee assignments is that progressive Rep. Sean Lynn will chair the House Judiciary Committee. Newly elected Representative Sophie Phillips will be the vice chair of the Natural Resources & Energy Committee. Rep. Paul Baumbach (my choice for Speaker) will be the chair of the Revenue & Finance Committee. Reps. Kendra Johnson and Larry Lambert will be the chair and vice chair of the Housing Committee. Newly elected Cyndie Romer will be the vice chair of the Technology & Telecommunications Committee. Kerri Evelyn Harris will be the vice chair of the Health & Human Development Committee.
Now look at the Democratic membership of each committee (disregarding the Leadership Committees (Administration, Rules, Ethics) and the Joint Committees (Finance and Bond). If the name is in Red, the person highlighted is a known Pete/Val ally. If the name is in Blue, the person highlighted is a known progressive. If the name is in Black, the person is a swing vpte, having done Pete things and Progressive things in the past.
Appropriations—Carson, Bolden, Griffith, Williams
Agriculture—Carson, Bush, Dorsey Walker, Harris, Heffernan, Matthews, Parker Shelby
Corrections—Chuckwuocha, Cooke, Neal, Morrison, Romer
Economic—Bush, Carson, Baumbach, Dorsey Walker, Griffith, Lambert, Matthews, Wilson-Anton
Education–Williams, Moore, Chuckwuocha, Lynn, Harris, Heffernan, Matthews, Parker Shelby
Gaming—Bolden, Cooke, Bush, Lynn, Matthews
Health & Human Development–Minor-Brown, Harris, Baumbach, Chukwuocha, Heffernan, K. Johnson, Morrison, Neal, Parker Shelby, Romer
Housing–Johnson, Lambert, Carson, Harris, Moore, Parker Shelby, Wilson Anton
Judiciary—Lynn, Griffith, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Phillips, Romer
Labor–Osienski, Williams, Bolden, Cooke, Lambert, Matthews, Moore, Morrison, Phillips
Natural Resources & Energy—Heffernan, Phillips, Baumbach, Carson, Griffith, Harris, Lambert, Moore, Wilson Anton
Public Safety—Cooke, Osienski, Bush, Johnson, Romer
Revenue & Finance—Baumbach, Dorsey Walker, Griffith, Johnson, Williams, Wilson Anton
Sunset–Dorsey Walker, Johnson, Parker Shelby
Technology & Telecommunications–Griffith, Romer, Baumbach, Matthews, Wilson Anton
Transportation—Matthews, Osienski, Baumbach, Carson, Harris, Parker Selby
Veterans Affairs—Chukwuocha, Carson, Bolden, Bush, Cooke, Harris, Heffernan, Lambert, Minor-Brown, Moore, Morrison, Phillips, Schwartzkopf
The House will reconvene on Tuesday, January 10.