Powerful committees get new leaders in Pennsylvania Senate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Several powerful committees are getting new leaders in Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state Senate.

Senate officials said Thursday that Sen. John Eichelberger of Blair County will chair the Education Committee, while Sen. Lisa Baker of Luzerne County will chair the Health and Human Services Committee.

The posts opened up after Lloyd Smucker of Lancaster County and Pat Vance of Cumberland County did not seek new terms. The new two-year legislative session starts Tuesday.

Eichelberger’s spot as Finance Committee chair will go to Sen. Scott Hutchinson of Venango County and Baker’s spot as Labor and Industry Committee chair will go to Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County.

Ward is leaving her post atop the committee that handles casino gambling legislation and is calling off a Tuesday meeting with representatives of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos.

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