UPDATED: The new Republican-led Senate majority announced Wednesday was still in the process of evolving on Thursday. Two Republican senators—Bert Stedman and Gary Stevens—are now part of a 13-member majority. Both were visible leaders of the now-defunct bipartisan Senate coalition.
Stevens, a former history professor, will chair the Education Committee and Stedman will chair Health and Social Services. Because they are both moderate Republicans, both might serve as a bulwark against issues -- privatizing schools and abortion -- that some of the more conservative senators have vowed to make part of the 28th Legislature agenda.
Meantime, the more unruly House, which picked up three Republican seats on Tuesday night, spent Thursday meeting at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, voting on who was going to get what. At a little after 10 p.m. assignments were announced. Here are some of the key ones:
Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, has retained the position of House speaker Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, will become House majority leader Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, is retained as House Rules Committee chairman Mat-Su Rep. Bill Stoltz and Kodiak Rep. Alan Austerman are now co-chairs of the powerful House Finance Committee.
And here's the full list of assignments:
Rep. Stoltze & Rep. Austerman, Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole Rep. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks
Judiciary Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla Resources Reps. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon & Rep. Dan Saddler, R-JBER/Eagle River State Affairs Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage Health & Social Services Rep. Pete Higgins, R-Fairbanks Labor & Commerce Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna/Kenai Transportation Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell Education Rep. Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla Community & Regional Affairs Rep. Ben Nageak, D-Barrow & Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage
Special & Joint Committee Chairmanships
Economic Development, Trade & Tourism Rep. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer Energy Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage & Rep. Doug Isaacson, R-North Pole Fisheries Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer Military & Veterans Affairs Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome & Rep. LeDoux Legislative Council Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage Regulation Review Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River Legislative Budget & Audit Rep. Hawker, Vice-Chair Joint Armed Services Rep. Saddler, House Co-Chair Select Committee on Legislative Ethics Rep. Millett, House Chair
Noticeably absent from Finance is Rep. Mike Hawker. More on what all this means on Friday.