Powerful House committees get new leaders

Three House committees that oversee bills proposed in the lower chamber of the General Assembly will have new leaders this year.

The biggest shake-ups in committee assignments are on the powerful Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee, which determines what bills the full House will vote on.

Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn, will take over from Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, for the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. John Meadows, R-Calhoun, meanwhile, takes the reins on the Rules Committee from fellow Republican Rep. Bill Hembree of Winston.

The other change, announced Friday afternoon by Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, installs Rep. Richard Smith of Columbus to head the Insurance Committee. Meadows had held that slot.

A full list of committee assignments is available online at www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/house/index.htm.

The House is in recess until Jan. 24, but the Appropriations Committee will meet Tuesday through Thursday at the Capitol to begin its work on the state budget.