Legislative Notebook: Midstate senators take committee seats

mlee@macon,comJanuary 15, 2013 

The state Senate announced its committee assignments for this year, the list of the first gatekeepers separating bills from becoming law.

State Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, will serve as vice chairman of Rules, the committee that decides which bills are sent for a full-floor vote.

He also is chairman of the Natural Resources and the Environment Committee.

Both he and Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, sit on the Appropriations Committee, which oversees divvying up the state budget, which will be more than $19 billion for the year beginning this July. Among other committees, Staton also sits on Higher Education, Banking and Financial Institutions and Rules committees.

Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, was named to the Regulated Industries and Utilities, Economic Development, Urban Affairs and Retirement committees.

Freshman state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, will sit on the Regulated Industries and Utilities committees as well as Insurance and Labor.

The GOP-dominated Assignments Committee made the decisions.

“I cannot say it’s fair,” said Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson of Tucker, but “I can say to you that they probably were no more self-serving than last session.”

Democrats make up somewhere between 15 and 22 percent of the major committees, such as Finance, according to his count, while voters who identify as Democrat are roughly 46 percent of the population.

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