With the departure of Rep. Jon Lovick from the state legislature due to his election as the new Snohomish County Sherrif, Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes) has been elected by his caucus to be House Speaker Pro Tem. In this capacity, Morris will preside over floor debate when House Speaker Frank Chopp is not at the rostrum and will also serve as a member of the House Democratic leadership team. Rep. John McCoy will take over Morris’ duties as chair of the House Technology, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) has been chosen as House Republican Floor Leader, replacing Rep. David Buri who has left the House to become government relations director for Eastern Washington University. Rep. Charles Ross (R-Naches) will replace Newhouse as Republican Assistant Floor Leader.
Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-Des Moines) is the new chair of House Ecology and Parks Committee. This new committee will handle environmental protection and conservation issues. Upthegrove was chair of the Select Committee on Puget Sound.
Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen) takes the helm of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which became vacant with current chair Rep. Brian Sullivan was elected to the Snohomish County Council in November.