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House Committee Conundrums

December 15th, 2006 by Halli

Along with leadership positions, the Idaho House has also settled on committee assignments. A quick inspection of the lists is not very instructive. But when you take time to start counting, adding, and cross-checking, a few surprises pop up.

First and foremost among those surprises is the fact that the three members of House leadership (all except the Speaker, Lawrence Denney, who has no committee assignments) serve on the same four committees. Mike Moyle, majority leader, Scott Bedke, assistant majority leader, and Ken Roberts, caucus chairman, all serve on Revenue and Taxation, Ways and Means, Transportation, and Resources.

This is a first, at least in recent memory. Apparently, House leadership considers these the four most important and powerful committees. (Otherwise, it seems safe to assume they would sit on all 14 committees!) It appears they feel no remorse at depriving other House members of these positions. And, it seems they are not concerned that frequent conflicts between leadership responsibilities and committee meetings will result in the neglect of important duties.

Other capable legislators such as Bob Nonini and Mack Shirley have only 2 committee assignments. Have they, and others, done something to displease House leadership? Do they have less capacity for work, including reading, comprehension, and simple mental ability? Or are we to understand that House leadership is composed of supermen? If we dig deeply enough, there must be an explanation.

A dispassionate observer might conclude that missteps have been made, and that the Idaho House has been poorly organized and headed for trouble. Only time will tell. We’ll be watching.

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