(3-minute read) BIPARTISAN ORGANIZATION DOMINATED BY DEMOCRATS
The House bipartisan majority announced committee assignments today and the Democrats won hands down.
Republicans who joined the bipartisan caucus seem to have traded all other positions of influence for control of the Rules and Finance committees.
Democrats control all other committees, which means that the governor’s requested statutory changes will run into a lot of hurdles in this House organization. Most of the governor’s bills will likely die in committee.
The Rules Committee includes Republican Minority members Lance Pruitt and David Eastman. Breakaway Republicans that joined the Democrats give it a 5-to-2 Republican control. But if bills aren’t moved out of committees, the control of the Rules Committee is less of a concern.
The Judiciary Committee is controlled by Senate Bill 91 defender Rep. Matt Claman. The governor has a suite of bills to roll back some of the leniency of that controversial crime bill that Claman has supported.
The Resources Committee chairmanship is split between Rep. John Lincoln, who is generally for common-sense development, and Rep. Geran Tarr, who is solidly anti-development and who has tried to ram through various taxes on oil companies. Her efforts may be stopped before they ever get to the floor by Republicans in Rules and Finance.
But five of the nine members of the Resources are anti-development, including Tarr, Reps. Sara Hannon, Grier Hopkins, Ivy Spohnholz and Chris Tuck.
Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai, who led a breakaway group of Republicans joining the Democrats to take control of the House, won a seat on Finance, as did Rep. Bart LeBon of Fairbanks, who joined the bipartisan group. Finance now has eight Republicans and three Democrats. That committee is the one bright spot for conservatives.
A surprising number of freshmen are on this committee: Kelly Merrick, Ben Carpenter, and LeBon, but all three offer a lot of experience.
Community and Regional Affairs, where the governor’s SB 57 (oil tax authority of local governments) will likely be heard first, is dominated by legislators who will make sure that bill is dead on arrival: Democrats Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins is chair, with Zack Fields as vice chair; Gabrielle LeDoux, Andi Story, and Adam Wool creating a voting bloc on that committee that can advance or stop legislation.
Health and Social Services is co-chaired by far-left Democrats Ivy Spohnholz and Tiffany Zulkosky, with Matt Claman, Harriet Drummond and Grier Hopkins sure to kill any measure that rolls back Medicaid spending.
All committees except Rules and Finance are co-chaired or chaired by Democrats, and dominated by Democrats, which for the purposes of this article includes Reps. Louise Stutes and Gabrielle LeDoux, who have caucused with Democrats historically. Stutes managed to get on six committees, with two chairmanships.
Here’s the chart: