Under a restructuring approved today by a new Senate Republican majority, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles has been named the ranking minority member of the Higher Education Committee.
Kohl-Welles will continue to serve on the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Law & Justice Committee (formerly known as the Judiciary Committee).
“As a former chair of the Higher Education Committee, I look forward enthusiastically to working on an issue I consider vital to the development and success of our young men and women and future leaders,” she said. “The quality of the educational opportunities we offer today will determine the vitality of our economy and society for future generations.”
Kohl-Welles’ seat on Ways & Means continues her presence on the powerful budget committee and her seat on Rules maintains her ability to influence which bills are sent to the Senate floor for a vote.
During floor action in which the Republicans’ rules changes were imposed by a one-vote majority, Kohl-Welles questioned the necessity and wisdom of that action, noting that the last time the Senate Rules were changed during a coup over control of the Legislature was in 1906.
“The rules that governed the Senate for more than 100 years were developed carefully and refined over time through genuine bipartisan collaboration,” she said. “Republicans today scrapped those rules in favor of a scheme drawn up unilaterally, overnight, and forced on the other half of the body with no regard or respect for the other side of the aisle. This is not a recipe for trust or respect, it’s a road map for confrontation and gridlock.”
Kohl-Welles also noted that the Republicans’ action in conjunction with two recalcitrant Democrats overrode the will of the voters, who elected a Democratic majority to the Senate in November.