House names Yonts state government chair, reduces proportion of Republicans on budget panel

01/11/2013 10:38 AM

House Democratic leaders unveiled committee assignments that shuffled around four chairmanships — with two new committee chairs and two budget panel chairs. Three of those four taking new posts come from Eastern Kentucky, which continues that region’s strong representation in leadership.

But the new committee assignments slashed Republicans’ representation on the powerful Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Republicans had 12 members on that committee compared to 17 Democrats in 2012. Starting in this session, Republicans will keep 12 seats but Democrats will have 19.

Rep. Bam Carney, the new House Republican whip, said before the official announcement of the assignments that he believed Democrats and Republicans had worked well during the committee assignment process but said he didn’t know what the final membership list would look like.

Meanwhile, Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, will take the helm of the state government committee, which will handle one of the biggest issues of the session: reforms to Kentucky’s public pension system. Yonts replaces Mike Cherry, who retired.

Yonts said pension groups already have come to see him. (Note: Yonts will be on Pure Politics Monday.)

The Democratic leaders also filled two open budget subcommittee chairmanships with Eastern Kentucky lawmakers.

The panel that covers budget issues for general government will go to Rep. John Will Stacy, a former Democratic whip. Stacey replaces Royce Adams of Dry Ridge, who retired.

The subcommittee over transportation spending now will be headed up by Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville. She replaces Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris, who was elected House Democratic Caucus Chairman on Tuesday.

That means two budget subcommittee chairmanships will go from being held by Central Kentuckians to Eastern Kentuckians. Eastern Kentucky already is home to two of the top leaders of the chamber, House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg and House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins of Sandy Hook.

Combs, in taking the transportation budget panel chairmanship, will give up her chairmanship of the Tourism, Development and Energy Committee. Democratic Rep. Keith Hall, who represents the neighboring district to Combs, will take that committee chairmanship.

Some other key changes:

Health and Welfare Committee
The committee that handles health care policy and abortion-related bills shrunk to 15 members from 16. But Republicans dramatically increased their influence on the panel. The GOP will have seven seats on the committee compared to eight Democrats. In 2012, it had been split 10 Democrats to six Republicans.

Judiciary Committee
The committee that handles the criminal code, justice and prison related bills, added three new members, and it will favor Democrats more than it did in the last General Assembly. Democrats will control the committee with 12-7 seats. It was 9-7 in favor of Democrats.

Education Committee
Democrats increased their representation on this committee as well as it goes to 18 Democrats to 11 Republicans, up from 17-12 last year.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • viewer wrote on January 11, 2013 11:26 AM :

    Heres what I dont understand. Eastern Ky is the poorest in the nation. They are not able to help themselves without gov funding. Frankfort has always had them in leadership. Why ??? It would be like the UK or UL basketball teams getting players from Ky. Just saying. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over , with the same results. Wake up Ky. Few leading us all dont work. Ask why…

  • sam pierce wrote on January 11, 2013 12:00 PM :

    How can Republicans gain four seats in the 2012 state house elections and not gain seats on committees? Dictator Stumbo is much more of a bully than David Williams. The only way we will ever get fair committee representation in the house is for Republicans to gain a majority. And this is after President Stivers agreed to allow Democrats in the Senate to choose their own committees. Dictator Stumbo needs to know that bipartisanship is a two-way street. Dumbo Stumbo will probably try to split Lewis County three ways again and draw strings through Pulaski and Laurel counties during redistricting. He never learns.

  • viewer wrote on January 11, 2013 03:23 PM :

    And eastern ky is mostly tea party members/ supporters. Dont tax my smokes, gov dont have the right to make my kid finish high school. Give me my welfare and tell the gov to stay out of our business. They took our business plan away in the civil war. What the hell they want us to do now. And northern ky dont laugh. This Massie feller would fit in perfect down there. Smart one that knows best for all. Them hillbillies used to go to Ohio when they left. Now it seems that they dont have the gas money to cross the state line with this last vote you guys had.

  • Cat Balz wrote on January 11, 2013 04:22 PM :

    Kentucky’s legislative “leaders” are a lawyer from enlightened Floyd County and a lawyer from heavenly Clay County. In other words, we’re more screwed than Paris Hilton on a Vegas weekend. Stay thirsty, my friends.

  • viewer wrote on January 11, 2013 04:39 PM :

    Baptist rules at Harlan high. Church of God has the way at Perry Central. Church of the Later Day Saints over here at Hazard Central. The snake handlers Test Your Faith Castle has it right here at Home School your Kids Williamsburg Center. Hell fire, how dare the gov try to ban God from our schools. And dont dare Mr. President try to tax our biggest business which we call the church. Not that you would know anything aboout that being a muslim.

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