|State House Republicans have designated “ranking members” for each House committee.|
Used in Congress and some state governments, ranking members are usually the longest-serving minority committee member. “Our ranking members are either our most tenured representatives on a committee or the member we believed was most engaged with the committee’s scope,” said State House Republican Leader Mike Ramone (R-Pike Creek South).
Rep. Ramone said using the ranking member concept would have some distinct advantages. “It will provide a better mechanism for communicating different perspectives into committee debate and improve transparency and clarity for those seeking the position of our caucus on a specific bill before a committee,” he said.
Committees in the Delaware House of Representatives play a significant role in what House bills become laws. The House has 22 committees that focus on specific subject areas. Some are charged with working on the state’s operating or capital budgets. Others analyze bills dealing with topics ranging from agriculture to transportation. Each of these committees varies in size and is staffed by groups of legislators interested in serving on them.
The Speaker of the House ultimately selects which legislators serve on each House committee. These groups are always structured in favor of the majority party – currently Democrats – with its members constituting the majority of each committee and leadership posts exclusively staffed by Democratic legislators.
When a new bill is filed, the Speaker assigns it to a committee.
Under House Rules, bills in committees are expected to receive a hearing within 12 legislative days of arrival (days on which the House is in session). The chairperson determines when a bill is brought before the committee for consideration. The measures are typically examined at a hearing open to the public, often with lobbyists, citizens, and other stakeholders testifying in support of their positions. It is common for a bill to receive more scrutiny in a committee setting than on the House or Senate floor.
Afterward, committee members decide whether to allow the bill to proceed. If the bill wins support from a majority of the members, it is released.
Bills successfully navigating the committee process are placed on the House Ready List. From here, they may (or may not) be placed on an agenda for debate and action by the full chamber.
The following is a list of all the ranking members on each House committee. (NOTE: Committees staffed by House leadership and the Appropriations, Capital Infrastructure, and Sunset committees are not included.)
Agriculture: State Rep. Jesse Vanderwende
Corrections: State Rep. Ruth Briggs King
Economic Development: State Rep. Danny Short
Education: State Rep. Mike Smith
Gaming & Pari-Mutuels: State Rep. Tim Dukes
Health & Human Development: State Rep. Kevin Hensley
Housing & Community Affairs: State Rep. Kevin Hensley
Judiciary: State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman
Labor: State Rep. Mike Smith
Natural Resources and Energy: State Rep. Rich Collins
Public Safety: State Rep. Shannon Morris
Revenue &Finance: State Rep. Mike Smith
Technology &Telecommunications: State Rep. Tim Dukes
Transportation, Land Use & Infrastructure: State Rep. Shannon Morris
Veterans Affairs: State Rep. Danny Short