COLUMBIA — A 21-year incumbent of the South Carolina House is taking the helm of the powerful Judiciary Committee.
The committee’s newly appointed members elected Rep. Greg Delleney as their chairman on Wednesday. The 60-year-old Chester Republican is the longest-serving incumbent on the committee. He had been chairman of Judiciary’s constitutional laws subcommittee.
Delleney, known for advocating anti-abortion measures, takes over from former Rep. Jim Harrison, who did not seek re-election after 23 years in the House. Harrison had been judiciary chairman since Republicans took control of the chamber in 1994.
Committees met to elect their leaders after House Speaker Bobby Harrell handed out committee appointments.
Delleney’s election was the only change in committee chairmen. No women hold a leadership position in the Legislature.
Two Democratic incumbents were newly appointed to the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which writes the chamber’s state budget proposal. Reps. Leon Stavrinakis of Charleston and Jackie Hayes of Dillon took the spots of a Democrat who retired and another who lost her re-election bid.
The House returned to Columbia for a two-day organizational session this week, which included Harrell’s re-election as speaker. The 2013 regular session starts Jan. 8.
House Republicans on Tuesday elected Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, as their new majority leader. The fifth-term incumbent replaces Rep. Kenny Bingham, who was limited by caucus rules to two terms in the leadership post. Republicans elected Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, as assistant majority leader through 2014.
Republicans hold a 77-to-46 majority in the chamber.
Stavrinakis was also among 10 representatives elected by the full House on Tuesday to its newly expanded ethics committee, which handles complaints against the chamber’s current and former members. The House changed its rules to add four spots on the committee, giving an equal number to Democrats and Republicans.
The five Republicans on the committee are Reps. Bingham of Cayce, who was elected chairman; Mike Pitts of Laurens, elected secretary; Jenny Horne of Summerville, Tommy Pope of York; and Murrell Smith of Sumter. Pitts is the committee’s only returning member.
The other Democratic members are Reps. David Weeks of Sumter, elected vice-chairman; Chandra Dillard of Greenville; Elizabeth Munnerlyn of Bennettsville; and Ronnie Sabb of Greeleyville.