General Assembly News

Earlier this week, a Senate GOP screening committee recommended current Rep. Bill Blessing as the replacement for the recently departed Sen. Lou Terhar. When Rep. Blessing is appointed, likely next week, he will be the fourth senator appointed already this year.

Rep. Blessing’s departure from the House will leave two seats for the House GOP to fill in the lower chamber; Rep. Ryan Smith’s resignation, announced last week, is effective today. The seat left open by Rep. Blessing will be the eighth such opening in the House in 2019. The 12 combined departures mark the most since 2011, when 21 lawmakers resigned.

Also this week, Speaker Larry Householder announced three new committee chairs – slots that needed to be filled due, directly or indirectly, to previous resignations. The new chair of the House Ways & Means Committee will be Rep. Derek Merrin, who will leave his chairmanship of House Health to take the Ways & Means post. He will be replaced as House Health Committee chair by Rep. Scott Lipps. Rep. Tim Ginter was chosen to lead the House Aging & Long Term Care Committee. Yet another chairmanship will become open upon Rep. Blessing’s official departure, as he’s currently the chair of the House Primary & Secondary Education Committee.