Energy, Labor, Human Services: Gone from the Colorado House

Colorado House Republicans today announced new committee chairs for the 2011 session, which will convene in January. More profoundly, perhaps, Speaker of the House-elect Frank McNulty announced new names for some of the committees.

Nowhere to be found among the new committees are such stalwarts as energy, labor or human services.

Instead of Health and Human Services, we now have Health and Environment. Instead of Business Affairs and Labor, we now have Economic and Business Development. Instead of Transportation and Energy, we have Transportation.

“The new committee names are a reflection of Speaker McNulty’s radical conservative agenda,” said House Minority Leader-elect Sal Pace, Pueblo.

“This really tells us how he plans to govern,” Pace said.

“It shows where their priorities are,” agreed Rep. Max Tyler, Lakewood, a member of the Transportation and Energy Committee last session. “I don’t know what committee will consider energy bills this year.”

Asked about a rumor that Republicans wanted to change the make-up of committees from the 6-5 split that has been used in the past to a 7-4 Republican majority, Pace said he had heard talk of such a change floating around the Capitol, but that he couldn’t say it had come from McNulty.

Pace and several other legislative insiders we talked to today said it couldn’t happen. Pace and others quoted House rules which say the make-up of committees needs to be proportionate with the make-up of the House as a whole.

Pace also said that at least one House race hasn’t actually been decided yet and that if it ends up going Democratic, then all the recent moves by House Republicans will be moot.

“There is a real possibility that the votes in HD 29 will be close enough to trigger an automatic recall. If that seat flips then all the committee names go back to how they were.”

McNulty did not return a call today.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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