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New Senate Committee Chairs Are Released

January 6, 2012

Committee chairs in the Senate were released this morning, with plenty of interesting storylines to follow.

Sen. Buck Clarke (R-Hollandale) will chair Appropriations. This was first rumored by Elizabeth Crisp earlier this week and is a bit of a change from the long held thought that Sen. Merle Flowers (R-Southaven) was going to get the money seat, previously held by fellow Desoto county Sen. Dough Davis, who lost re-election in the August Republican primary. Rather, Flowers gets the Redistricting chair- obviously one of the most important jobs in the legislature considering what is currently at stake. It remains to be seen if he follows the Burton map that was largely favorable to Republicans but eliminated a GOP seat in the Pine Belt to create a new majority-black district around Hattiesburg.

Sen. Terry Burton (R-Newton) will now be in charge of Universities and Colleges, which will be interesting especially as we (potentially) talk consolidation. Burton is also Vice Chair of Appropriations.

As for Clarke, who just won a hard fought re-election is a Democratic district, this is a nice get for him- and for the Delta. He will be the highest-ranking member from that region, but fellow Delta Senator, Willie Simmons of Cleveland, got the Transportation chair. Simmons and Hob Bryan (Jud B) got the top jobs for Democrats in the Senate. Other Democrats getting nice chairs include Sampson Jackson (Corrections), John Horhn (Economic Development), David Blount (Public Property), and Haskins Montgomery (Veterans Affairs).

But most of the top jobs went to Republicans including Joey Fillingane taking Finance, Dean Kirby to Public Health, and Briggs Hopson to Jud A. Republicans also got the Vice Chair position for the key money committees but Democrat Bennie Turner got the Vice Chair with Jud A and Bryan will still be with Public Health, just as Vice Chair. He previously served as Chairman under Phil Bryant. And one of the more controversial chairs among conservatives will be Gray Tollison’s appointment to chair Education. Tollison switched parties a day or two after winning re-election (unopposed) in November.

Here is a full list of chairs and vice chairs:

Accountability Efficiency and Transparency
Nancy Collins (R) Chairman
J.P. Wilemon (D) Vice Chairman

Agriculture
Billy Hudson (R) Chairman
Russell Jolly (D) Vice Chairman

Appropriations
Buck Clarke (R) Chairman
Terry Burton (R) Vice Chairman

Business and Financial Institutions
Gary Jackson (R) Chairman
J.P. Wilemon (D) Vice Chairman

Compilation, Revision and Publication
Derrick Simmons (D) Chairman
Dean Kirby (R) Vice Chairman

Congressional Redistricting
Merle Flowers (R) Chairman
Chris McDaniel (R) Vice Chairman

Constitution
Michael Watson (R) Chairman
Will Longwitz (R) Vice Chairman

Corrections
Sampson Jackson (D) Chairman
Lydia Chassanoil (R) Vice Chairman

County Affairs
Nickey Browning (D) Chairman
Billy Hudson (R) Vice Chairman

Drug Policy
David Jordan (D) Chairman
Michael Watson (R) Vice Chairman

Economic Development
John Horn (D) Chairman
Steve Hale (D) Vice Chairman

Education
Gray Tollison (R) Chairman
Nancy Collins (R) Vice Chairman

Elections
Chris McDaniel (R) Chairman
David Blount (D) Vice Chairman

Energy
Merle Flowers (R) Chairman
Giles Ward (R) Vice Chairman

Enrolled Bills
Alice Harden (D) Chairman
Kelvin Butler (D) Vice Chairman

Environmental Protection Conservation and Water Resources
Tommy Gollott (R) Chairman
Deborah Dawkins (D) Vice Chairman

Ethics
Bennie Turner (D) Chairman
Gary Jackson (R) Vice Chairman

Executive Contingent Fund
Robert Jackson (D) Chairman
Gray Tollison (R) Vice Chairman

Finance
Joey Fillingane (R) Chairman
Merle Flowers (R) Vice Chairman

Forestry
Melanie Sojourner (R) Chairman
Giles Ward (R) Vice Chairman

Highways and Transportation
Willie Simmons (D) Chairman
Perry Lee (R) Vice Chairman

Housing
Hillman Frazier (D) Chairman
Chris Massey (R) Vice Chairman

Insurance
Videt Carmichael (R) Chairman
Rita Parks (R) Vice Chairman

Interstate and Federal Co-op
Kenny Wayne Jones (D) Chairman
Sampson Jackson (D) Vice Chairman

Investigate State Offices
Albert Butler (D) Chairman
Videt Carmichael (R) Vice Chairman

Judiciary A
Briggs Hopson (R) Chairman
Bennie Turner (D) Vice Chairman

Judiciary B
Hob Bryan (D) Chairman
Chris McDaniel (R) Vice Chairman

Labor
Kelvin Butler (D) Chairman
Robert Jackson (D) Vice Chairman

Legislative Reapportionment and Congressional Redistricting
Merle Flowers (R) Chairman

Local and Private
Perry Lee (R) Chairman
Tony Smith (R) Vice Chairman

Municipalities
J.P. Wilemon (D) Chairman
Bill Stone (D) Vice Chairman

Ports and Marine Resources
Brice Wiggins (R) Chairman

Public Health and Welfare
Dean Kirby (R) Chairman
Hob Bryan (D) Vice Chairman

Public Property
David Blount (D) Chairman
Sally Doty (R) Vice Chairman

State Library
Deborah Dawkins (D) Chairman
Albert Butler (D) Vice Chairman

Tourism
Lydia Chassanoil (R) Chairman
Sean Tindal (R) Vice Chairman

Universities and Colleges
Terry Burton (R) Chairman
John Polk (R) Vice Chairman

Veterans and Military Affairs
Haskins Montgomery (D) Chairman
Philip Moran (R) Vice Chairman

Wildlife Fisheries and Parks
Giles Ward (R) Chairman
Angela Hill (R) Vice Chairman

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. rankinlawyer permalink
    January 6, 2012 3:43 pm

    These choices aren’t about qualifications and credentials, it is about retribution.

  2. January 6, 2012 4:22 pm

    How on God’s green earth can McDaniel not be the chair of Jud A or B? How can Tollison be chairman of Education? Willie Simmons chair of Transportation?

    CONSERVATIVES SHOULD BE OUTRAGED.

  3. rankinlawyer permalink
    January 6, 2012 4:41 pm

    JJ you forgot to ask how Bryan can be chair of Jud B. You should also ask why McDaniel, the smartest lawyer in the senate, is not even a member of Jud A. These choices demonstrate Tate’s focus is on power not on policy and demonstrate Tate’s blatant ignorance of how the legislative process works.

  4. Republican Dawg permalink
    January 6, 2012 5:04 pm

    I don’t have a problem with Gray like I know some conservatives do. I could be wrong, but I imagine he has similar ideas to reforming education. I don’t think he’s a spend, spend, spend guy like Cecil Brown who opposes any reforms (like charter schools, school choice, etc). Education is a big part of Tate’s platform so I imagine he wouldn’t put someone there he didn’t trust.

    The things thats more annoying to me is Hob Bryan. What is the Republican obsession with appeasing him? Because he’s been there for 30 years doesn’t mean he deserves anything. If he was lt. governor, he wouldn’t appoint one Republican. He’s more liberal then half the Black Caucus. And to put him back on reapportionment…………….

  5. because you asked 2 permalink
    January 7, 2012 12:24 pm

    the Forestry chair, hmm, is this the new ocean springs

  6. adam permalink
    January 9, 2012 5:01 pm

    Tate failed us and his appointments show he’s more of a moderate than a conservative. He will NEVER get my vote again. And Gray is a democrat still in my eyes. I dont’ care what letter is now by his name. That was a backroom deal that will hurt the entire party. The next four years the Senate will not be friendly to conservative issues due Tate Reeves. We won’t forget this. And I agree with Rankin Lawyer here, McDaniel should be chairing Jud A.

    All those who told me how smart Tate is didn’t really know him I guess. Now we see he’s more worried about Tate Reeves than he is about Mississippi.

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