Monday, December 22, 2008

Legislature 2009

Legislative Changes For 2009

Boise--The Idaho Legislature held their annual organizational meetings this past month in Boise. New lawmakers got an introduction to the legislative process and were assigned committees followed by leadership elections in the House and Senate. When the dust cleared there were just a few changes in committee assignments, and no changes in leadership for the majority party.

Changes of Note:
Rep. Wendy Jaquet gave up her role as House Minority Leader to take a slot on the Joint Finance and Appropriations (budget) Committee. Rep. Jaquet had served as Minority Leader for 10 years.

The Magic Valley gained some considerable power with six Magic Valley legislators being named to the JFAC (budget). This includes both Chairs of the committee. Members of the committee from the Magic Valley include: Senator Dean Cameron (Co-Chair), Senator Bert Brackett, Rep. Maxine Bell (Co-Chair), Rep. Fred Wood, Rep. Jim Patrick and Rep. Wendy Jaquet.

Senator Tim Corder was named Chairman of the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee replacing the late Senator Tom Gannon.

House Agricultural Affairs committee remains the same on the Republican side however both Rep. Jacquet and Rep. Durst on the minority side have departed and Rep. Killen has joined the committee.

House Minority Leadership changes include Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, the former House caucus chair elected minority leader. Former Assistant Minority Leader George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, opted to step down from his leadership post. The new House Assistant Minority Leader is Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, and Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, is the new House minority caucus chair.

Changes among Senate Democrats, Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, continues as minority leader, while Sen. Kate Kelly, D-Boise, steps up from caucus chair to assistant leader. Former Assistant Minority Leader David Langhorst left the Senate for an unsuccessful run for Ada County commissioner. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, is the new Senate minority caucus chair.

The House Health and Welfare committee has been expanded from 12 to 16 members.

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