New Year, New Session, & New Ag Committee Assignments

Another election year has come and gone. It was a big one for our state legislature, as every seat was up for grabs due to the 10 year census and the redrawing of district lines. In addition, many long-time incumbents retired, including former Senator George Bunting (D) who was the long-time chair of the Senate Ag Committee. These changes have definitely altered the face of our legislature and I’m not referring to party affiliation but more so age. New leadership has been chosen in each chamber and committees assigned. Here’s a rundown, relative to Agriculture, of course.

The Senate: 13 Democrats, 8 Republicans

New Leadership:

  • President Pro Temp: Patricia Blevins (D)
  • Majority Leader: David McBride (D)
  • Majority Whip: Margaret Rode Henry (D)
  • Minority Leader: Gary Simpson (R)
  • Minority Whip: Gregory Lavelle (R)

Senate Ag Committee Members:

  • Bruce Ennis, Chair (D)
  • Bethany Hall-Long (D) (new to committee)
  • Robert Venables (R)
  • Gary Simpson (R)
  • Gerald Hocker (R) (newly elected; previously served in House) (new to committee)

The House: 27 Democrats, 14 Republicans

New Leadership:

  • Speaker of the House: Pete Schwartzkopf (D)
  • Majority Leader: Val Longhurst (D)
  • Majority Whip: John Viola
  • Minority Leader: Dan Short
  • Minority Whip: Deborah Hudson

House Ag Committee members:

  • John Atkins, Chair (D)
  • Quinn Johnson, Vice-Chair (D)
  • William Carson (D)
  • W. Charles “Trey” Paradee (D) (newly elected) (new to committee)
  • Rebecca Walker (D)
  • Micheal Mulrooney (D)
  • Dave Wilson (D)
  • Harvey Kenton (R)
  • William “Bobby” Outten (R)
  • Harold Peterman (R)
  • Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (newly elected) (new to committee)

Important to note: The 147th General Session begins on January 8, 2013. The House Ag Committee plans to meet every Wednesday from 4-5:30 pm when in session. Other committees to watch, relative to ag, would be the Natural Resources committee. See a list of all House committees here. See a list of all Senate committees here.

Granted, I know Ag isn’t the most popular committee and in past years it hasn’t seen much legislation introduced but you never know what 2013 and this new session will bring. Plus there are many things going on federally that may impact state budgets and regs. I will say that I was hoping newly elected Sen. Ernie Lopez would be on the Senate Ag Committee; however, I’m happy he landed on the Education and Natural Resources committees. Better luck next time, I guess.

Here’s to 2013 and what this new session will bring………Happy New Session & New Year!

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