IN Brief

New Senate committee chairs reflect leadership changes

By: - November 18, 2022 4:40 pm

Several committees will see new chairs in January following changes in Senate leadership. (Niki Kelly/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

The new Senate committee chair assignments for the upcoming legislative session include seven new committee chairs in 2023, and reflect a bit of a shakeup after the Senate Republican caucus fractured during a special legislative session on abortion earlier this year.

“I’ve long believed that some of the most important work in the legislature happens at the committee level,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville. “We have a group of very talented committee chairs set for the upcoming session, and I look forward to working with these talented members as they help craft good policy for the people of Indiana.”

One previous change — Sen. Aaron Freeman’s appointment as the chair of the Corrections and Criminal Law committee — was announced in October. Freeman, of Indianapolis, gained the chairmanship after Young, also of Indianapolis, decided to leave the caucus following the inclusion of exceptions for rape and incest in the state’s near-total abortion ban.

Additionally, following the retirement of Sen. Phil Boots last year, Granger Sen. Linda Rogers will serve as the new chair of Pensions and Labor and no longer heads the Family and Children Services committee.

That movement set off a ripple effect in committee chair assignments for Family and Children Services and Ethics, with Columbus Sen. Greg Walker and Washington Sen. Eric Bassler stepping up as chairs for those committees, respectively.

Two members lose committees

Notably, Sens. Mark Messmer, of Jasper, and Andy Zay, of Huntington — who recently challenged Bray’s leadership — lost their committee chairmanships.

Messmer’s Senate Republican profile, not yet updated with Friday’s leadership changes, listed him as the chair for Environmental Affairs and Joint Rules while Zay’s profile lists him as the chair for Insurance & Financial Institutions.

Following the fallout of the abortion debate, Charlestown Sen. Chris Garten was named as the new majority floor leader over Messmer, who had served in the role since 2018.

New chairs for the 2023 legislative session include:

  • Sen. Aaron Freeman, who succeeds Sen. Mike Young, in Corrections and Criminal Law
  • Sen. Rich Niemeyer, who succeeds Sen. Mark Messmer, in Environmental Affairs
  • Sen. Eric Bassler, who succeeds Sen. Greg Walker, in Ethics
  • Sen. Greg Walker, who succeeds Sen. Linda Rogers, in Family and Children Services
  • Sen. Scott Baldwin, who succeeds Sen. Andy Zay, in Insurance and Financial Institutions
  • Sen. Chris Garten, who succeeds Sen. Mark Messmer, in Joint Rules
  • Sen. Linda Rogers, who succeeds Sen. Phil Boots, in Pensions and Labor

Individual member committee assignments have not yet been determined but should be announced in the coming weeks.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.