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THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 2007
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House members learn committee assignments

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — State House members left Montgomery on Wednesday with committee assignments for the next four years.

Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur, is the only lawmaker from Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties who will chair a House committee, but other area House members will serve on key budget committees.

Dukes chairs committee

Dukes again will chair the county and municipal government committee. In the 2006 regular session, eminent domain bills originated there and passed the full House before dying in the state Senate. Dukes also will serve on the House commerce committee, where he will concentrate on economic development.

Ron Grantland, D-Hartselle, was re-appointed to the government appropriations committee, where budgets for all non-education departments and agencies generally originate. Grantland also will chair the government committee's allocations subcommittee.

His other committees will oversee health care and local legislation.

He said he expects to work closely with Speaker of the House Seth Hammett on other budget issues.

Rep. Jeremy Oden's committee assignments include the education appropriations committee, which usually develops all budgets for education-related departments and agencies. Oden, R-Eva, will concentrate on education salaries and benefits.

Oden's other committee assignment involves county and municipal government.

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, will serve on the constitution and elections committee, where he will be the ranking minority member of the campaign finance subcommittee. In 2006, the committee handled bills to change the date of the state's presidential primary and enact nonpartisan judicial elections. Hammon's other committee assignment is tourism and travel, where he will concentrate on sports and sports facilities.

Rep. Jody Letson, D-Hillsboro, will serve on the government appropriations budgeting committee, where he will work on salaries for employees of state agencies and departments. His other committee assignments include governmental operations, where he will be vice chair of the government relations subcommittee.

First term assignments

First-term Rep. Henry White, D-Athens, an elementary school principal and former school superintendent, will serve on the House education policy committee, where he is assigned to the personnel management subcommittee. White's other committee assignments include agriculture and forestry.

Also in his first term, Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, will join the education policy committee and serve as the ranking minority member of the personnel management subcommittee.

His other committee will be public safety.

Committee assignments in the Senate are not complete, and new Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove, said he expects the process to take several weeks. Mitchem said he wants to talk to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate about their committee interests before the process is complete.

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