New legislative session begins in Montpelier

Members of county delegation serve on top House, Senate committees

BRATTLEBORO — The 2019-20 legislative biennium began at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Jan. 9, with lots of changes in the House leadership but little change in the Senate.

There was relatively little turnover in the Senate after last November's election, while the House welcomed 40 new members, its largest freshman class since 1992.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden, returned to the leadership positions of their respective chambers.

Thirteen of the 14 House committees will be chaired by Democrats, and seven of them have new chairs.

However, the only Windham County representative chairing a House committee is Rep. Carolyn Partridge, who returns as head of the Agriculture Committee.

Rep. Laura Sibilia, I-Dover, is vice-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, while Rep. John Gannon, D-Wilmington, is vice-chair of the Government Operations Committee. Gannon and Sibilia will also be serving on the House Ethics Panel.

Other House committee assignments for the Windham County delegation:

• Rep. Matt Trieber, D-Rockingham, is on the Appropriations Committee.

• Rep. Emily Long, D-Newfane, switched from Education to the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee.

• Rep. Mike Mrowicki, D-Putney, switched from Human Services to Government Operations.

• Rep. Kelly Pajala, I-Londonderry, will serve on the Human Services Committee.

• Rep. Mollie Burke, P-Brattleboro, returns to the Transportation Committee.

• Burke and Mrowicki will also serve of the House Sexual Harassment Prevention Panel.

• Incoming Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, D-Brattleboro, joins incumbent Tristan Toleno, D-Brattleboro, on the Commerce Committee.

• Rep. Sara Coffey, D-Guilford, joins the Corrections and Institutions Committee.

• Rep. Nader Hashim, D-Dummerston, will serve on the Judiciary Committee.

There weren't as many changes in the Senate:

• Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, is back for another term as Senate majority leader. She will serve on the Senate Finance Committee and the Economic Development & Housing Committee.

• Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, remains chair of the Government Operations Committee, and will again serve on the Judiciary Committee.

• Balint will also chair the Senate Sexual Harrassment Panel. White will join Balint on that panel.

As was the case in the last biennium, one Republican will chair a Senate committee. Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, replaced retired Sen. Peg Flory, R-Rutland, as chair of the Committee on Institutions.

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