Committee assignments are coming out for the 2011 session of the Legislature. Republicans control both chambers, which means the powers that be for assigning committees are House Speaker Val Rausch of Big Stone City and Senate president pro tem Bob Gray of Pierre. The two appropriations committees certainly have a new look.
House members are Jim Bolin, R-Canton; Lance Carson, R-Mitchell; Paul Dennert, D-Columbia; Dan Dryden, R-Rapid City; Kent Juhnke, R-Vivian; Fred Romkema, R-Spearfish; Jim White, R-Huron; Dean Wink, R-Howes; and Susan Wismer, D-Britton. Bolin, Dryden, Juhnke, Romkema and White are new to the committee. Dennert and Wismer are in the minority party. That leaves Carson and Wink as the two Republicans with appropriations experience. Wink will be chairman and Carson vice chairman.
The Senate panel will have Corey Brown of Gettysburg, the Senate Republican assistant leader, as its chairman. The vice chairman will Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, who was the House appropriations chairman last session and won election to the Senate. Gone from the committee altogether is the past chair, Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton. Tidemann is one of a core of former House members who are now in the Senate and will be on the panel. Others coming over from the House are Deb Peters, R-Hartford; Jim Putnam, R-Armour; and Phyllis Heineman, R-Sioux Falls, who’s been out of the Legislature because of term limits and a past loss in a Senate run against Democrat Scott Heidepriem. Joining Brown, Tidemann, Peters, Putnam and Heineman will be two other appropriations members from the past, Jeff Haverly, R-Rapid City, and Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen. New senator Bruce Rampelberg, R-Rapid City, also will be on the committee. The lone Democrat is newcomer Billie Sutton of Burke.
Jean Hunhoff’s new assignments include chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, a natural fit because of her nursing experience. She’ll also be a member of the Senate’s Government Operations and Audit Committee; Judiciary Committee; and Local Government Committee.
Here are other Senate committee chairmen. All are Republicans. Cooper Garnos of Presho returns to run Education. Gray takes Legislative Procedure. Tom Hansen of Huron has Taxation. Haverly gets Government Operations and Audit. Shantel Krebs of Renner returns to her FFA roots and takes Agriculture. Tom Nelson of Lead has Commerce. Rampelberg, in a rare prize for a freshman, is assigned to run Retirement Laws. Larry Rhoden of Union Center will handle State Affairs. Todd Schlekeway of Sioux Falls, who moves from the House, gets Local Government. Craig Tieszen of Rapid City runs Judiciary. Mike Vehle of Mitchell is back in the driver’s seat at Transportation. Senate Republican leader Russ Olson of Madison isn’t chairing any committees. He’ll be busy managing the bigger picture.
On the House side, Republicans also hold the majority and therefore all committee chairmen are Republicans. Kim Vanneman of Ideal will chair Agriculture. (This might be a first with two women running the ag panels.) Roger Solum of Watertown takes Commerce. Thomas Brunner of Nisland gets Education. Carson gets Government Operations and Audit. Jamie Boomgarden of Chancellor takes Health and Human Services. Judiciary goes to Roger Hunt of Brandon. Rausch follows tradition as speaker and chairs Legislative Procedure. Mark Kirkeby of Rapid City takes Local Government. Manny Steele of Sioux Falls gets Retirement Laws. Majority Leader David Lust of Rapid City runs State Affairs (and Assistant Majority Leader Justin Cronin of Gettysburg is vice chair). Mark Willadsen of Sioux Falls returns after being out of the Legislature and will chair Taxation. Mike Verchio of Hill City is the new chair of Transportation.