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Hall representatives see few changes to committees
Local lawmakers each have officer roles on committees
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Hall County representatives’ 2011 committee assignments:

Tommy Benton: secretary of Education Committee, vice chairman of Retirement Committee, secretary of Human Relations and Aging Committee, Rules Committee, Transportation Committee

Doug Collins: secretary of Appropriations, vice chairman of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Judiciary-Non Civil, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Zero Based Budgeting Appropriations Subcommittee

James Mills: secretary of Rules, Appropriations, Banks and Banking, Ways and Means, General Government Appropriations Subcommittee

Carl Rogers: vice chairman of Appropriations, Insurance, Health and Human Services, Transportation, vice chairman of the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee

Committee assignments were made in the Georgia House of Representatives this past weekend, reflecting few changes for Hall County representatives.

Committee assignments are made to split the House of Representatives into smaller groups of lawmakers who study bills more closely than the House would be able to as a whole.

Representatives are assigned to committees by the speaker of the House and the Committee on Assignments.

“They have a mammoth task to endure. With 36 new representatives coming into the House, that’s a lot of work to put them onto committees that they would like to be on,” said Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville. “Anytime there’s a new session you’re going to see a shift of authority.”

Rep. James Mills, R-Chestnut Mountain, will no longer serve as chairman of the Banks and Banking Committee. He was replaced by Rep. Greg Morris, a Republican from Vidalia.

Mills said he is pleased with his committee assignments and understands the changes.

“I still am on all the committees I was on last year. I have been appointed as an officer on the highest-ranking committee in the House, which is the Rules Committee; I’m secretary on that and I’m very grateful for the assignments,” Mills said.

“Some of us in the past have gotten to hold more than one (leadership) position and I’m very grateful for any position I’m allowed to serve in. As our caucus has grown, there has been a desire to sort of spread the power around some and I understand that. I serve at the pleasure of the (House) speaker in these positions and at the pleasure of the Committee on Assignments. So I’m grateful for the positions they’re allowing me to serve in.”

Hall County Rep. Doug Collins will continue to serve on the same committees he was on last year in addition to his new responsibility as one of Gov. Nathan Deal’s three floor leaders. The governor’s floor leaders serve as liaisons for the governor to help push his legislative agenda in the House.

“The one thing I’m thrilled about is still being the secretary of Appropriations, which lets me still have a leadership role in the overall budget picture,” Collins said. “I think as the floor leader working with the governor it’s going to be a lot of work but it’s going to be a really exciting time helping the new governor get his agenda to the people and to the House and to the Senate and making his priorities effective here for the state.”

He said he feels more prepared for the budgeting process this year after serving as secretary on the Appropriations Committee last year.

“I think this year will actually be a little bit easier because I’m now more familiar with the process, more familiar with the ins and outs of the budget,” Collins said.

The members of the Appropriations Committee are responsible for allocating money to government departments and agencies.

In addition to the same committees he served on last year, Rogers was appointed to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development. Last year, he served on the Subcommittee on General Government.

“I’ll be moving from general government section back to economic development. It’s a lateral move, but it’s a move that’s good,” Rogers said. “I had served in that capacity for over six years on the appropriations side and I think I can help with the new administration.”

Rogers, who has been in the House since 1995, admitted he was hoping for a leadership role this year.

“With the governor being from Hall County and the lieutenant governor being from Hall County, there’s a little bit of concern that everything can’t be from Hall County, and I continue to hear that. As some folks call it, there’s a little jealousy there on the part of the other 158 counties of the state,” Rogers said.

Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, who represents part of Hall County, was appointed secretary of the Human Relations and Aging Committee in addition to his previous committee posts.

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