By Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns announced a slate of committee leaders Tuesday that includes a new panel over health care policy and removes the Democrat who had overseen MARTA.
The decisions on 41 standing committee chairs will help determine whether bills pass, fail or even get hearings during the next two years. Committee chairs also often receive significant campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interests.
All but one committee leader is a Republican, with Democratic Rep. Brian Prince of Augusta taking the helm of the Urban Affairs Committee.
Democratic Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver had been in charge of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee, appointed two years ago by then-Speaker David Ralston in a sign of bipartisanship.
The new MARTA committee chairwoman is Republican Rep. Deborah Silcox of Sandy Springs, who returned to the House this year after she had lost her reelection bid in 2020. Silcox was in charge of the committee before Oliver.
Burns also appointed a Special Committee on Healthcare that will manage and coordinate health care policy, led by Rep. Butch Parrish of Swainsboro.
“Our House has a strong bench of leaders ready to roll up their sleeves and go to work for the people of Georgia, and our committee leadership roster reflects that,” said Burns, a Republican from Newington who chaired the House Committee on Assignments.
Several representatives ascended to leadership roles for the first time, including incoming Governmental Affairs Chairman John LaHood of Valdosta, Education Chairman Chris Erwin of Homer and Judiciary Non-Civil Chairman Tyler Paul Smith of Bremen.
Rep. Matt Hatchett’s appointment to lead the influential House Appropriations Committee, which plays a key role in deciding the state’s $32.5 billion budget, was previously announced in December. Hatchett, a Republican from Dublin, replaced longtime Appropriations Chairman Terry England, who didn’t seek reelection last year.