New Indiana Senate Committee Chairs Reflect Leadership Change | Indiana News

The new Senate committee chairs for the upcoming term include seven new committee chairs in 2023 and reflect some dismay after the Senate Republican faction broke up during a special legislation session on abortion earlier this year.

“I have long believed that some of the most important work in the Legislature occurs at the committee level,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville. “We have identified a very talented group of committee chairs for the upcoming meeting, and I look forward to working with these talented members as they help develop good policy for the people of Indiana.”

An earlier change – the appointment of Sen. Aaron Freeman as chair of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Committee – was announced in October. Freeman, of Indianapolis, won the presidency after Young, also of Indianapolis, decided to leave the caucus after exceptions for rape and incest were added to the state’s near-total abortion ban.

Additionally, following the departure of Sen. Phil Boots last year, Granger Sen. Linda Rogers will serve as the new Chair of Pensions and Labor and will no longer chair the Family and Children’s Services Committee.

This movement created a ripple effect in the assignment of family and children’s ministry and ethics committee chairs, with Columbus Sen. Greg Walker and Washington Sen. Eric Bassler serving as chairs for those committees.

Notably, Jasper’s Sens. Mark Messmer and Huntington’s Andy Zay – who recently challenged Bray’s leadership – lost their committee chairs.

Messmer’s Senate Republican profile, which has not yet been updated with Friday’s leadership changes, listed him as chairman of environmental affairs and common rules, while Zay’s profile lists him as chairman of insurance and financial institutions.

Following the fallout from the abortion debate, Charlestown Sen. Chris Garten was named Messmer’s new majority chairman, having held the role since 2018.

The new Chairs for the 2023 legislature include:

  • Sen. Aaron Freeman, succeeding Sen. Mike Young, on Corrections and Criminal Justice;
  • Sen. Rich Niemeyer, succeeding Sen. Mark Messmer, for environmental affairs;
  • Sen. Eric Bassler, succeeding Sen. Greg Walker, in Ethics;
  • Sen. Greg Walker, succeeding Sen. Linda Rogers, in family and children ministry;
  • Senator Scott Baldwin, succeeding Senator Andy Zay, for Insurance and Financial Institutions;
  • Senator Chris Garten, succeeding Senator Mark Messmer, in Joint Rules;
  • Sen. Linda Rogers, succeeding Sen. Phil Boots, for pensions and jobs;

The assignment of the individual members of the committee has not yet been determined, but will be announced in the coming weeks.

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