State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, is the new chairman of the House Education Committee. (Photo courtesy Harris campaign)
The Louisiana Legislature announced updates to committee assignments Friday ahead of its regular session that commences March 14. A few of the moves have been public knowledge for some time, while others account for new arrivals and departures at the statehouse.
In the House, the moves further solidify Republicans’ hold on key leadership positions.
Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, has been named chairman of the House Education Committee, replacing Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette, who was removed from that post last year. His ouster followed his sponsorship of a bill that would have barred the public school students from learning about institutional racism. In a committee hearing on his proposal, Garofalo said any lessons about American slavery should include “the good, the bad, the ugly,” drawing criticism from colleagues in both parties.
Garofalo was placed on the House Civil Law and Procedure and Criminal Justice committees.
With his new chairmanship, Harris has been replaced as leader of the House Retirement Committee, and House rules prevent him from being a member on any other standing committee. Rep. Patrick Jefferson, D-Homer, was named vice-chair of Education, replacing Rep. Mark Wright, R-Covington.
Wright is now chairman of the House Transportation Committee, replacing Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, who remains on the panel. The new role for Wright means he can no longer serve on the House Ways and Means Committee or as Education vice-chair.
Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, replaces Harris as retirement chairman, remains on the House Ways & Means Committee and was removed from the House Natural Resources Committee.
Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, is now chairman of the House Insurance Committee, replacing Rep. Chad Brown, D-Plaquemine. Huval had previously chaired the House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee. Brown remains on the Insurance Committee and was added to Civil Law and Procedure.
Rep. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, replaces Huval as Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs chairman. Edmonds keeps his seat on House Appropriations but was taken off the education committee.
Rep. Gerald “Beau” Beaullieu, R-New Iberia, was named vice chairman of Ways and Means, removing him from the same role on the retirement committee where Rep. John Illg, R-River Ridge, was named to the No. 2 post.
Rep. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, replaces Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, as vice chair of the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Hodges remains on the committee.
Rep. Francis Thompson, D-Dehli, was named vice-chair of the appropriations committee, replacing former Rep. Gary Carter, D-New Orleans, who was elected to the Louisiana Senate. Rep. Dustin Miller, D-Opelousas, takes Thompson’s place as vice-chair of House Agriculture.
In other committee moves:
- Rep. Ed Larvadain, D-Alexandria, leaves the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee to join Transportation.
- Rep. Laurie Schlegel, R-Metairie joins House Ways and Means, leaving Civil Law and Procedure.
- Rep. Joseph A. Marino, I-Gretna, was added to Transportation and removed from Civil Law and Procedure.
- Rep. Roy Daryl Adams, I-Jackson, was pulled from House Appropriations and added to Health and Welfare, and Retirement..
- Reps. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, and Debbie Villio, R-Kenner, were assigned to Appropriations and removed from Commerce.
- Rep. Thomas Pressly, R-Shreveport, was added to Commerce and taken off Civil Law and Procedure.
- Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, joins Civil Law and Procedure as well as Criminal Justice, leaving his seat on Commerce and Insurance.
- Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, has been appointed to Ways and Means and removed from Civil Law and Procedure Committee.
- Newly elected Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-New Orleans, was assigned to the Civil Law and Procedure, Insurance and Retirement committees. The other House newcomer, Rep. Adrien Fisher, D-Monroe, has been added to the Agriculture, Commerce and Natural Resources committees.
House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, has not filled the chairmanship of the Criminal Justice Committee, a role left open after Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, left his seat for a regional Small Business Administration appointment in the Biden administration. Rep. Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, is vice-chairman of Criminal Justice.
In the Senate, President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, has shuffled a couple of committee lineups following the departure of two members.
Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, moved from chair of the Senate Transportation Committee into the same role with its Commerce Committee. The transportation chair was left open after Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, resigned from the Senate to become State Gaming Control Board chairman. Ward was also placed on the Senate Insurance Committee.
Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington, was promoted from vice-chair to chairman of Transportation when Ward was made Commerce leader. Gary Carter, who replaced his uncle Troy Carter in the Louisiana Senate after he was elected to Congress, is now Transportation vice chair and was named to Health and Welfare, replacing Ward.
Sen. Barry Milligan, R-Shreveport, replaced Johns on the Senate Finance Committee, and McMath moved from Judiciary A to Judiciary B to replace Johns.
Troy Carter’s departure also shook up the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, is now chairman, and Sen. Jay Morris, R-Monroe, is the new vice chair. Sen. Mike Reese, R-Leesville, was moved from vice chair to a regular seat on the committee.
Luneau’s new chairmanship led to changes on the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, where he’s now a regular member and Reese is vice chair. Morris was added to the committee, which Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, continues to chair.
Senate newcomer Jeremy Stine, R-Lake Charles, was appointed to the insurance and labor committees and replaces McMath on Judiciary A.
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