Looks Like Most Of Louisiana’s House Committee Chairs Are Set

Jeremy Alford at The Political Desk has the scoop on the doings at the Louisiana House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee, which will once again be chaired by Democrat fiscal hawk Jim Fannin of Natchitoches…

Members of the incoming House of Representatives are starting to put the pieces together for their money committees, and that includes chairmanships.

Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, has been re-elected to serve on the budget-drafting Appropriations Committee and will likewise return as chairman.

Sources also tell THE POLITICAL DESK that Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, has been tapped as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which is the legislative panel with lead tax-writing authority.

Robideaux had intended to challenge Rep. Charles Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, for speaker of the House this month, but withdrew from the race in December.

In certain respects, the Ways and Means gavel is a consolation prize; Robideaux met with the administration not long after backing out and expressed interest in the job.

Robideaux replaces Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, who also made an early run for speaker. For his part, Greene had expressed interest in retaining the chairmanship.

Alford says there was a major battle fought for membership of the Appropriations Committee among House members in the south-central part of the state…

It was announced Monday that Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, had been elected by the House to represent the 3rd Congressional District.

That announcement, however, was a bit too quick on the draw.

Based on the tally sheets obtained by THE POLITICAL DESK, Champagne won by only a single vote, seemingly nudging out two other challengers.

In second place was Rep. Dee Richard of Thibodaux, who has no party affiliation and served on the Appropriations Committee last term.

But Richard, it appears, will get a second bite at the apple.

That’s because House Rule 6.4 states, “If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in a congressional district, the Clerk shall conduct a run-off election between the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes.”

As for how Richard might fare in the runoff, it’s notable that he — in partnership with Treasurer John Kennedy — made a name for himself in recent years by pushing cost-cutting measures that were unpopular with the administration.

Moreover, Richard has more than a few vetoes to his name that were personally dealt out by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The Champagne-Richard battle likely will be decided in the former’s favor, as she’s quite popular among the House’s GOP majority. Additionally, the word came down this morning, as Alford notes in his piece, that the 7th District race for the committee was won by Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles) over Democrat Jack Montoucet. Geymann is well-known as a fiscal hawk.

But the rest of Appropriations contains a number of hard-core fiscal conservatives. Among those elected by the House rather than appointed by Speaker Chuck Kleckley (no fiscal liberal himself; Kleckley will appoint 18 of the 25 committee members) are John Schroeder (R-Covington), Jim Morris (R-Oil City) and J. Rogers Pope (R-Denham Springs).

In short, House Appropriations is shaping up to be extremely unfriendly territory for new spending measures.

New Republican and runner-up to Kleckley for Speaker Joel Robideaux (R-Lafayette) will now hold sway over the House Ways and Means Committee. As Alford notes, Robideaux is moving a prominent House member aside.

In certain respects, the Ways and Means gavel is a consolation prize; Robideaux met with the administration not long after backing out and expressed interest in the job.

Robideaux replaces Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, who also made an early run for speaker. For his part, Greene had expressed interest in retaining the chairmanship.

Other committee chairmen, per Hayride sources, include:

  • House and Governmental Affairs: Tim Burns (R-Mandeville)
  • Retirement: Kevin Pearson (R-Slidell)
  • Labor: Herbert Dixon (D-Alexandria)
  • Transportation: Karen St. Germain (D-Plaquemine)
  • Municipal: Jarod Jackson (D-New Orleans)
  • Insurance: Greg Cromer (R-Slidell)
  • Civil Law: Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans)
  • Commerce: Eric Ponti (R-Baton Rouge)
  • Education: Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge)
  • Health and Welfare: Scott Simon (R-Pontchatoula)
  • Judiciary: Jeff Arnold (D-New Orleans)
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