Hess Announces Committee Assignments
State Rep. Dick Hess (RBedford/ Fulton/Huntingdon) announced last Thursday that Speaker of the House Rep. Sam Smith (RJefferson/ Armstrong/Indiana) has appointed him to serve on four House standing committees for the 2011-12 legislative session.
Hess has retained his seat as chairman of the Commerce Committee. One of the more timely committees in the House, the Commerce Committee is responsible for oversight of economic development and banking issues throughout the commonwealth.
“This committee will be focused on legislation that will target Pennsylvania’s economy,” Hess said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to enact policies that are beneficial to rehabilitating Pennsylvania’s economy and putting citizens back to work.”
In addition, Hess will serve on the Rules and Transportation committees, as well as the Committee on Committees.
The Rules Committee is reserved for legislative leaders and senior lawmakers to work together to oversee the legislative process. The committee makes recommendations to improve and expedite the business and procedures of the House and proposes amendments to the rules of the House, as needed. In addition, the committee adopts guidelines for the expenditure of all funds appropriated to the House or to any member or nonmember officer.
Hess has also retained his seat as the ranking Republican member of the House Transportation Committee. With Pennsylvania in need of significant funding to repair its roads and bridges, this committee will be focused on this issue in the current session. In addition, the Transportation Committee oversees the Vehicle Code, relating to driver’s licensing, vehicle registration and inspections, the gasoline tax, and rules of the road; mass transit; airports; railroads; and funding for road and bridge repairs.
“This will be a critical legislative session for transportation in Pennsylvania,” Hess said. “There are tens of thousands of miles of roads and thousands of structurally deficient bridges across the commonwealth in need of attention. Obviously, the question is one of funding, and we will have to examine our transportation infrastructure needs from a comprehensive viewpoint.”
The Committee on Committees is responsible for assigning virtually all members of the House to at least two standing committees. Members of this committee analyze the experience of each member and attempt to match them to committees where they would be most effective.
“It’s a long process to review committee requests by members and ensure they are assigned to committees that benefit the legislative process,” Hess said. “Although the committee typically meets at the beginning of each session, we do coordinate committee assignments throughout the twoyear session if there is a change in the complement of the membership.”