(Note: Harwell’s list of committee assignments, as provided to media, is available by clicking on this link: HouseCommittees
House Speaker Beth Harwell has named seven new committee chairmen for the 109th General Assembly — four replacing chairmen who served last session, two replacing retired lawmakers and one to lead a newly created panel.
In the Senate, Speaker Ron Ramsey kept in place the same committee leadership he appointed last session. In both chambers, all chairmen are Republicans.
The new House panel comes by splitting the former House Education Committee into two groups, which Harwell said will divide the heavy workload created by the filing of multiple bills on education topics. Last session, she said, the Education Committee had almost twice as many bills to review than any other panel.
Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, who chaired the Education Committee last year, will head one of the new panels, the Education Administration and Planning Committee. Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, will chair the panel’s subcommittee.
Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens, will head the new Education Instruction and Programs Committee. Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville, will chair its subcommittee.
Forgety is sponsoring a bill to revise Common Core standards for Tennessee public schools, which is expected to be a hotly debated topic in the coming session. Though it differs in some specifics from a proposal from Gov. Bill Haslam, the measure has the same theme of developing Tennessee standards over a period of study lasting into next year.
In brief debate prior to House floor approval of the new education committee structure, Kane suggested that a split giving one panel oversight of higher education and the other oversight of K-through-12 would be “more logical.” But House Clerk Joe McCord said a majority of bills in past sessions have dealt with K-12 topics so that such a split would not “balance and even the workload.”
Other changes in House committee leadership announced by Harwell on Saturday: