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UPDATE: Committee assignments doled out in state Legislature

By Lombardo David
Thursday, January 24, 2013

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, will again run the Senate's Insurance Committee.

He was the only one of the Capital Region's state legislators to receive the chairmanship of a standing committee. This reality is due largely to the loss of seniority for the Capital Region, with three long-term members of the Assembly and Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, getting replaced by freshmen legislators.

Seward has also been named a member of the Senate's agriculture, education, finance, rules, higher education, mental health and health committees.

State Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, the longest serving member of the chamber, has been named Vice-Chair of the Senate Banks Committee. He is also on the education, ethics, finance, social services, rules and health committees.

If the Senate puts together a select committee on libraries, it is likely that Farley would lead that.

State Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, has been appointed to chair the Administrative Regulations Review Commission. This makes sense based on her administrative efficiencies in the Saratoga County Clerk's Office, where she won awards for essentially making the trains run on time and cheap.

Marchione is also on the Senate's aging, banks, consumer protections, "Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation," elections, labor, local government and racing committees. She follows in the footsteps of her predecessor, McDonald, on the racing committee.

The committee assignments for freshly sworn in Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, have not been announced.

In the Assembly, committee assignments have begun to trickle out.

Freshman Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, was named to the agriculture, energy, government employees, small business and veteran affairs committees in the Assembly. In a statement he said these committees will give him a platform to promote small businesses and agriculture in the region.

He is particularly suited for the energy committee, as Santabarbara noted his experience as a civil engineer. "Engineers use solution-based thinking when approaching different problems or situations," he said. "My background will help me bring fresh ideas and creative solutions."

A few local Assembly members on the other side of the aisle have been tapped as the ranking members of committees. Freshman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, is the ranker on the environmental conservation committee and member Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, is leading a farm committee.

This list will be updated in the future.

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m.:

Tkaczyk has been appointed to the Senate's Elections, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Education, Agriculture, Environmental Conservation, and Children and Families committees. She will serve as the ranking minority member on the Elections and Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities committees.

It makes sense for the Democrats to put her front and center on elections issues, as her campaign revolved heavily around a push for publicly financed elections.

“I am very excited to have received every committee assignment I requested,” Tkaczyk said in a statement. “And I’m especially pleased to have a leadership role on two committees that will be responsible for shaping extremely important legislation and policy in the months ahead.”

“I am grateful that Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has confidence in my ability to serve as an effective member of these important committees,” she added.

Regarding Seward's appointment as the Insurance Committee chair again, he said in a statement, “Keeping health insurance costs in check for families and businesses, while providing coverage choices are always top priorities."

"Helping guide the creation of a new health insurance exchange, as well as fighting insurance fraud, which drives up costs for businesses and individuals alike, will be leading legislative concerns in the next year," Seward added.

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter.

 
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