Democrats cry foul on committee rosters

Published 10:21 am Friday, December 19, 2014

ST. PAUL — House Democrats are upset that the Republican majority removed a veteran DFL lawmaker from a committee that handles environmental issues.

Minneapolis Democrat Rep. Jean Wagenius chaired the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance committee until the GOP won back the chamber in November. First elected in 1986, Wagenius is among the longest-serving DFL legislators.

In a rare move, House Republicans rejected Democrats’ request to put Wagenius on the panel for next year. The majority party has the final say on committee membership. House GOP leadership announced committee rosters Thursday.

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Speaker Paul Thissen says the slight is proof Republicans don’t take climate change or the protecting the environment seriously.

House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt responded that Republicans have put together a balanced committee structure.