WHEELING - West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler has assigned committees for the 81st Legislature, with senators from the Northern Panhandle represented on most committees.
As Senate president, Kessler, D-Marshall, will serve as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, the committee that determines which bills get consideration on the Senate floor during the 60-day legislative session. Joining Kessler on that committee will be Sen. Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel, tapped by Kessler to be president pro-tempore. Edgell also will serve as vice chairman of the natural resources committee, and will be a member of the finance, military and pension committees.
Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, has seven committee assignments. He remains chairman of the labor committee; vice chairman of the military committee; and a member of confirmations; energy, industry and mining; finance; government organization; and health and human resources committees.
"I have seven committees, and that's a load," Yost said. "I'm excited about the confirmations committee. I don't know much about it yet, but I know I will be working with the governor to help him make appointments to state boards.
Having the opportunity for a relationship with the governor, to have dialogue with him on a regular basis, I think is always an advantage."
Yost expects the health and human resources committee to take on a big role in the West Virginia Legislature as the state makes changes to comply with federal health care reform.
Committee Assignments For Local Senators In The 81st Legislature
Senate President - Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall
President Pro-Tempore - Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel
- Business and Insurance - Robert "Rocky" Fitzsimmons , D-Ohio (vice chairman)
- Confirmations - Jack Yost, D-Brooke
- Education - Edgell
- Energy, Industry and Mining - Yost
- Enrolled Bills - Fitzsimmons
- Finance - Edgell and Yost
- Government Organization - Fitzsimmons and Yost
- Health and Human Resources - Yost
- Judiciary - Fitzsimmons
- Labor - Yost (chairman) and Fitzsimmons
- Military - Yost (vice chairman), Edgell and Fitzsimmons
- Natural Resources - Edgell (vice chairman)
- Pensions - Edgell
- Rules - Kessler and Edgell
- Transportation and Infrastructure - Fitzsimmons
"Over the next three or four years, we will be addressing issues," Yost said. "I don't know what the state's role will be, but I know we will see changes."
Newly appointed Sen. Robert "Rocky" Fitzsimmons, D-Ohio, also has been assigned to seven committees and will serve as vice chairman for the business and insurance committee. A Wheeling attorney, Fitzsimmons also was tapped for the judiciary committee, as well as the enrolled bills; government organization; labor; military; and transportation and infrastructure committees.
"I'm very pleased with these committee assignments - a lot of them fit with my interests and skill set," Fitzsimmons said. "The senate president did a good job of fitting me with what was available."
The Northern Panhandle has no representation on the Senate's agriculture, economic development or interstate cooperation committees.