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EP lawmakers shut out of top posts

January 13, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Eastern Panhandle lawmakers in the West Virginia House of Delegates will not serve as chair or vice chair on any of the chamber's four major committees when the 79th Legislature convenes for its first session next month, according to an announcement from House Speaker Richard Thompson's office.

The four major committees are Education, Finance, Government Organization and Judiciary.

Lawmakers are expected to elect officers at noon today, but the 60-day session does not begin until Feb. 11. Democrats have a 71-29 majority in the 100-member House.

Among committee leadership changes announced by Thompson this week are the appointment of Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, to serve as chairman of the Committee on Interstate Cooperation. In the 78th Legislature, Doyle chaired the Enrolled Bills Committee.

Thompson also approved the appointment of Del. Jonathan Miller, R-Berkeley, to serve as minority vice chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee and Del. Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, to serve as vice chairman of the Political Subdivisions Committee. Both delegates were elected to their second two-year terms in November.

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In addition to being reappointed to serve as minority chairman of the Education Committee, Del. Walter Duke, R-Berkeley, was tapped to serve as minority vice chairman of the Pensions & Retirement Committee, according to Thompson's announcement.

Robert "Bob" Tabb, D-Jefferson, also was reappointed by Thompson to serve as vice chairman of agriculture on the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.

Del. John Overington, R-Berkeley, was reappointed to serve as minority chairman of the Constitutional Revision Committee but the most tenured member of the House was replaced as minority vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee by Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha.

Del. Craig P. Blair, R-Berkeley, retained his post as one of two minority chairs on the Industry & Labor/Economic Development & Small Business committee.

Not all committee appointments were available for release Tuesday, House Communications Director Stacey Ruckle said.

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