The Utah House and Senate announced their committee assignments for the 2019 session that starts in January. Among the appointments were a few surprises.
The House and Senate Rules Committees, perhaps the most powerful committees in the legislature as they control the flow of legislation, will each have new chairs next year.
Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy is the new chair of the Senate Rules Committee and Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan will be the vice-chair. Buxton, who lost his bid for Assistant Senate Majority Whip, takes over for Sen. Diedre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork.
Rep. Tim Hawkes, R-Centerville, is the new chair of the House Rules Committee, with Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, as the vice chair. Hawkes replaces Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who did not run for re-election.
Second-term Rep. Mike Winder got a plum assignment as chair of the House Economic Development & Workforce Services committee. Winder’s appointment was a surprise to many as he leapfrogged over many House members who have been there much longer.
Freshman Sen. Dan McCay takes the gavel of the Economic Development and Workforce Services committee replacing Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi. Freshman Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, is the other newbie on the committee.
Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, is out as chair of the Senate Education Committee in favor of Sen. Deidre Henderson. Millner remains on the panel along with freshman Democrat Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Salt Lake City. Reibe was a member of the state school board.
Freshman Sen. Ron Winterton, R-Roosevelt, takes over as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
In a surprise move, Democrat Susan Duckworth, D-Salt Lake City, was named Vice Chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.