Committee chairs might not sound like an important job, but these members are the gatekeepers of the bills that get heard.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Designate Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, made the committee chair announcements last week.
Under Coffee’s leadership, the number of committees and subcommittees shrunk by two to 20 from 22. The criminal jurisprudence committee will be eliminated and the Health and Social Services and Human Services will be combined into a single appropriations subcommittee on health and human services.
Nineteen Republican senators who served as a committee co-chair the past two years will serve as chairmen in the GOP-controlled Senate. One new senator – former OSU president Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater – will be the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
“This is one of the most intelligent and talented groups of committee chairs I have seen during my tenure in the Senate. They’ll play a critical role in advancing the Senate Republicans’ agenda of fiscal responsibility, job creation, government reform, and traditional values,” Coffee said.
Republicans have a majority in the Senate for the first time in history. The Senate is made up of 26 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
The State Senate’s committees and committee chairs for the 2009 session are:
Appropriations Committee: Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education: Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater
Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services: Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa.
Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services: Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City.
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation: Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso.
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary: Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore.
Finance Committee: Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa.
Education Committee: Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville.
Judiciary Committee: Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid.
Agriculture and Rural Development Committee: Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha
Business and Labor Committee: Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole
Energy and Environment Committee: Sen. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.
General Government Committee: Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Choctaw.
Health and Human Resources Committee: Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.
Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee: Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton
Retirement and Insurance Committee: Sen. Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow.
Rules Committee: Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman.
Tourism and Wildlife Committee: Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus.
Transportation Committee: Sen. Cliff Branan, R-Oklahoma City.
Veterans and Military Affairs Committee: Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City.