Longevity rules in Pennsylvania House
Frank Dermody, the Pennsylvania House’s Democratic leader, picked his committee bosses for the 2019-20 legislative session.
Don’t look for women, however, to lead any committees.
Democratic females don’t have the only criteria needed to run a House committee: longevity.
Decades-old House rules mandate that 23 committee leadership posts go to lawmakers who have been in office the longest, unless they beg off the assignment or have some internal caucus leadership post.
Democrats realize that female-free committee chairs don’t look good to outsiders who may not understand the internal trappings of legislative politics. That’s why House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton pointed out that women hold two caucus leadership posts and the caucus has plenty of less senior women in its ranks.
“Right now in the House Democratic Caucus, the most senior 30 legislators are all men except Rep. Rosita Youngblood, who serves as caucus secretary,” Patton said after Dermody’s committee posts were announced. “While we have no women committee chairs at the moment, the leadership position of caucus chair is held by Rep. Joanna McClinton. Nearly one-third of all House Democrats are women and we look forward to continued increases in that number.”
Dermody reappointed two Lehigh Valley men to their committee posts:
Rep. Steve Samuelson of Northampton County again is chairman of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee.
Rep. Bob Freeman of Northampton County again is running the Local Government Committee.