Wednesday, House Speaker-designate Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) announced his final round of committee leadership appointments, with two committee chairs continuing their roles from the previous quadrennium despite some suggesting a possible change in direction.
Despite being at odds with the Alabama Education Association teachers' union, State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) will retain her chairmanship as the House Education Policy Committee.
Collins, who also serves on the Education Ways and Means Committee, was the sponsor of the 2019 Literacy Act. She also was the sponsor of the 2019 Human Life Protection Act, which became the prevailing abortion law in the state this year after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
State Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) will also remain the chair of the House Health Committee; he was appointed as chair by former House Speaker Mac McCutcheon.
Lee has been in the legislature since 2010 and currently serves on the Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
The Houston County Republican lawmaker could play a pivotal role if the legislature seeks to alter the power and function of the State Health Officer and the Alabama Department of Public Health in the upcoming legislative session.
For leadership in the newly created House Ports, Waterways, and Intermodal Transit Committee, Ledbetter tapped State Rep. Chip Brown (R - Hollinger's Island). Although Brown has been a member of several House committees, this will be his first appointment as chair.
Ledbetter said he created the committee because the construction of new docks in the state could allow Alabama's fresh waterways to be one of the state's "strongest economic assets."
State Rep. Bob Fincher (R-Rocky Branch) will maintain his position as chair of the House Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee.
Fincher has been in the legislature since 2014 after spending over 30 years teaching government, economics and history in Alabama public schools.
State Rep. Phillip Pettus (R-Killen) will remain the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee chair.
Pettus, a retired Alabama State Troop Captain, has been in the legislature since 2014. He was the sponsor of the praised Nick Risner Act, which prevents inmates convicted of murdering someone with a deadly weapon from being granted "good time" in Alabama.
State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) will chair the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, a position formerly held by State Rep. Dickie Drake (R-Leeds), who lost his seat to State Rep. Susan Dubose (R-Hoover) in the Republican primary.
Oliver was the sponsor of a "divisive concepts' bill in the past legislative session, which sought to prohibit educators and trainers from compelling students and state workers to concur on specific teachings related to race and gender. Although the divisive concepts bill failed in the Senate, Oliver claims an updated version will appear in the 2023 regular session.
State Rep. Alan Baker (R - Brewton) will chair the House Local Legislation Committee, taking over for State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville), who Ledbetter recently appointed as the House General Fund Budget chairman.
Baker has served in the legislature since 2016 after working for 27 years as an educator and football coach in Alabama public schools. He sits as the Vice Chair for the House rules Committee and the Education Policy Committee.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.