Longevity rules in Penn­syl­va­nia House

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - STATE/REGION - — Steve Esack

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.

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