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Local lawmakers issued committee assignments

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New Mexico House Minority Leader Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia, prepares for the start of the New Mexico Legislative session on Tuesday in Santa Fe. (AP Photo / Russell Contreras)

Lawmakers were issued their committee assignments Wednesday, the day after House lawmakers convened for Opening Day of the 54th Legislative session.

The membership of each committee was announced Wednesday in a press release.

In the House, the Speaker assigns representatives to committees, based on their individual interests and schedules, with each member assigned to two committees, according to Shaya Torres, press secretary for Speaker Brian Egolf and the House Democratic Caucus.

The committees are tasked with crafting, reviewing and approving legislation before it heads to the floor to be voted on by the entire House.

As a member of the House Leadership, Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, will be on the House Rules and Order of Business Committee.

Townsend, whose House District includes parts of Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties, will also be on the House committees on Enrolling and Engrossing; Printing and Supplies; Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; and Judiciary committees, according to the release.

Townsend said in an interview Wednesday he is satisfied with his assignments.

“These suited me just fine,” he said.

After being re-elected to a second term in November, state Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, will again be on the House Judiciary Committee, and be a new member on the State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.

The Judiciary Committee will play a major role in the legislative process, with about two-thirds of substantive bills coming before the committee, Nibert said in a text message conversation Wednesday.

Phelps Anderson, a Republican from Roswell elected in November, and whose district includes portions of Chaves, Lea and Roosevelt counties — will be on the House Finance and Appropriations; Energy, Environment and Natural Resources; and Enrolling and Engrossing committees.

State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell — chair of the House Minority Caucus — will return to her seat on the House Agriculture and Water Resources, and House Consumer and Public Affairs committees.

Unlike in the House, where committee assignments are doled out every year, state senators remain on their committees for four years, according to Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales.

Ingle serves on the Committee’s Committee as well as the Rules and Public Affairs committees.

A senator since 1985, Ingle said he has served on every committee, including 18 years on the coveted Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, will continue on the Senate Rules and the Indian and Cultural Affairs committees; while State Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, will keep her seat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.