Senate waits with bated breath for 2013 committee assignments

The palace intrigue continues today in the Senate, where a rumored shake-up in some key committee chairwomanships has set off a wave of speculation about who will end up where.

Sen. Dick Mazza, one of three members on the powerful ” Committee on Committees,” said he, Senate Pro Tem John Campbell and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott are hoping to ink a final roster by Thursday. They’ll probably announce the decisions to members on Friday morning – “so they have assignments before they go home for the weekend,” Mazza said.

The Friday news drop serves another key function: giving spurned senators 72 hours to ice their brusied egos before returning to Montpelier for the first full week of the session.

“There are going to be some happy folks and some unhappy folks,” Mazza said this morning. “But you deal with it and within a week or so people usually move on.”

Mazza, Campbell and Scott – the lite guv always gets a spot on the committee on committees – have been working for weeks on a roster of committee assignments. Sen. Ginny Lyons, longtime chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, is rumored to be on the chopping block – she had earlier this year pondered a run against Campbell for pro tem.

Sen. Ann Cummings won’t continue as chairwoman of Senate Finance – she requested last month to be pulled from the plum assignment, something that likely would have happened anyway given her very public dressing-down of Campbell at a Senate caucus last month.

Vince Illuzzi’s departure fom the body opens up another chairmanship in the Committee on Economic Development, House and General Affairs.

The Committee on Committees has done a pretty good job keeping people guessing – some of the senators who will be most directly impacted by its chioces still don’t know what’s coming. It’s the kind of inside baseball that no one who works outside Montpelier will probably care much about, but the committee compositions will signal changes in the Senate’s evolving power dynamic, and could have an effect on prospects for some key pieces of legislation.

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