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State House committees whittled down

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Dec. 14, 2010 at 10:24 am with No Comments »
December 14, 2010 10:24 am

The state House will have fewer committees when it reconvenes in January.

House members have received a list of the 21 committees they will serve on, down from 24 last year. The King County Democrats posted it on their blog.

The Everett Herald’s Jerry Cornfield has reported on the possibility of a reorganization, and the list looks pretty much as he described, with four committees folding.

Most significantly, the Finance Committee will be folded into Ways and Means, which makes it likely Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, will chair that budget committee, the most important in the House. Former budget chair Kelli Linville lost her re-election bid, and Hunter hasn’t said publicly if he wants the gavel.

Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, told me she is interested, but added there may be other opportunities for her in the new structure.

The Human Services and Early Learning panels will be combined. So will Ecology and Parks and the Environmental Health committee chaired by defeated Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy.

Audit Review & Oversight, chaired by Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, will be eliminated. The panel was just created last term, and House Democrats said it was only supposed to be temporary, but I have to wonder if it’s payback for Miloscia’s very public criticism of his fellow Democrats. He’s not the only critic, but Miloscia took it an extra step by mounting a brief and spectacularly unsuccessful challenge of Speaker Frank Chopp for leadership of the House.

Chairmen could be decided as soon as Thursday.

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