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A Seat in the House

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House and Senate leadership choices and committee assignments

Every member of the Idaho Legislature is up for re-election every two years. Those that are successful in being elected to office are sworn in the first week of December. The legislature reorganizes at this same time, electing leadership and assigning members to various committees. The majority parties and minority parties of both the Senate and House meet in separate caucuses the evening before the official swearing in ceremonies to elect their leadership members.

This year this occurred on the evening of December 1. The House Republican members elected to keep their current leadership team. These leadership members are Bruce Newcomb (Burley), Speaker of the House; Lawerence Denney (Midvale), Majority Leader; Mike Moyle (Star), Assistant Majority Leader; and Julie Ellsworth (Boise), Majority Caucus Chair.

The Democrat House members made some changes in their leadership. The Democrat members of the Minority Leadership team are: Wendy Jaquet (Ketchum), Minority Leader; George Sayler (Coeur d’Alene), Assistant Minority Leader; Elmer Martinez (Pocatello), Minority Caucus Chair.

The Senate members of both parties elected to keep their current leadership teams. The Majority party leadership members are Robert Geddes (Soda Springs), President Pro Tem; Bart Davis (Idaho Falls), Majority Leader; Joe Stegner (Lewiston), Assistant Majority Leader; and Brad Little (Emmett), Majority Caucus Chair.

The Democrat Senate leadership team members are Clint Stennett (Ketchum), Minority Leader; Mike Burkett (Boise), Assistant Minority Leader; and Edgar Malepeal (Pocatello), Minority Caucus Chair.

Although these leadership members were elected the evening of December 1, their positions were not official until the elections were formalized by acclamation following the oath of office procedures the morning of December 2. None of the legislative members were official and no final action could be taken until the members of the Senate and House took their oath of office; only then could the Senate and House conduct official business.

The next order of business was the selection of Committee Chairs and committee members. This was the process of most interest to the members since membership on the various committees influences their legislative emphasis over the next two years. Members want to get on those committees that they believe put them in the best position to represent specific areas of constituent interest in their district. As an example, those members whose constituents are involved in agriculture, generally prefer to be assigned to the Agriculture Committee. The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee is also a preferred committee by many members because this joint committee acts as the budget committee for the legislature. Ten members from the Senate and ten members from the House sit as a joint committee and set the appropriations for all state agencies and institutions.

The members of legislative districts one and two that serve citizens of Bonner and Boundary Counties were fortunate enough to be assigned to committees that are of significant benefit to our counties.

Senator Keough was assigned as Vice-Chair of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. She also stays on the Senate Transportation Committee and in addition, was assigned to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. This last committee assignment adds to Senator Keough’s Senate responsibilities, but provides additional opportunity to serve constituents in our legislative district.

I retain my position as a member of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and my Co-Chairmanship of the Interim Energy Committee. I also retain my membership on the House Resources Committee. In addition the House increased the responsibilities of the House Environmental Affairs Committee. This committee has been expanded to include the interest areas of energy and technology. Because of my membership on the interim energy committee and my activities in the energy area, I moved from the House Local Government Committee to the new Environmental, Energy and Technology Committee.

Representative Anderson was assigned to the House State Affairs Committee, the House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, and the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee.

Senator Broadsword was assigned to the Senate Agriculture Affairs Committee, the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Representative Harwood retains his position on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and will continue to serve as Vice-Chair of the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee. He also retains his position on the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee.

Representative Shepard was appointed to the House Transportation Committee, the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee, the House State Affairs Committee, and the House Transportation and Defense Committee.

I believe these committee assignments will be of benefit to the citizens of Bonner and Boundary counties. They are in areas of interest that emphasize our dependence on natural resources, our transportation needs, preservation of our low-cost electric energy resource and our continuing need to serve the health and welfare needs of our citizens.

Speaker of the House Newcomb has continually emphasized his intent to join the northern and southern areas of our state together in the best interest of all of Idaho and I think these committee assignments reinforce his intent.

Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts and concerns on issues important to you. My home phone is 208-265-0123 and my home address is P.O. Box 112, Dover, 83825.


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Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

Idaho Legislature, House, Senate, committees

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