Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Glenn Coffee Names Oklahoma Senate Committee Chairmen

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Glenn Coffee Names Oklahoma Senate Committee Chairmen

Article excerpt

The new leader of the Senate on Monday named his choices for 20 committee chairmanships - all of whom were Republican men.

"They'll play a critical role in advancing the Senate Republicans' agenda of fiscal responsibility, job creation, government reform, and traditional values," said state Senate President Pro Tempore Designate Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. Coffee called the collection of new chairmen one of the most intelligent and talented groups he's seen during his tenure.

Republicans took control of the state Senate for the first time in history with the Nov. 4 elections, picking up two seats to win a 26-to-22 majority. For the last two years, Democrats and Republicans were tied in the Senate, holding relatively equal power.

Having Jari Askins, a Democrat, in the role of lieutenant governor and president of the Senate gave the Democrats a slight edge in the power-sharing agreement, allowing state Sen. Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, to hold the title of Senate President Pro Tempore during the legislative session, while Coffee was dubbed Co- President Pro Tempore.

Almost all of the new committee chairmen served as co-chairmen of their respective committees during the previous legislative session under the power-sharing agreement. Only one freshman legislator was granted a committee chairmanship this year - former OSU President Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, who will head an appropriations subcommittee.

From the time of statehood until 2006, Democrats controlled the Senate - and Democrats controlled the Senate committees. In 2005, Democrats held all Senate committee chairmanships and vice

chairmanships except one: Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, served as vice-chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

Coffee said he will announce vice-chairs and other committee members within the next two weeks.

Monday's announcement also reflects a few changes to the committee structure for this year, reducing the total number of committees and subcommittees from 22 down to 20. …

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