In reality, no matter what you call them, there are only two major committees in each house: Finance and Judiciary, with arguably Finance being the only real major committee, since it controls the purse strings.
However, the change isn't entirely cosmetic: "Major" committee status makes it possible for H&HR to schedule multiple meetings each week, which will be a plus, given the heavy workload likely with health care-related bills in the 2013 session.
(In the past, the committee has been relegated to the less-than-ideal scheduled meeting time of 4 p.m. Mondays. In the House, minor committees meet only once a week.)
It also gives Thompson a little better opportunity to solidify support in the speaker's race, since Delegate Bobbie Hatfield's defeat opens up the vice chairmanship on the committee, and the committee's higher profile will make that appointment somewhat more prestigious for whatever Democrat gets the nod.
Finally, one of the first calls I got post-election was not about upsets, leadership changes, or new policy directions. It was about ursine deportation.
In other words, what happens to the black bears that have resided outside of Attorney General Darrell McGraw's offices at the Capitol?
For those not familiar with the Capitol's VIPs, for many years, then-Secretary of State Ken Hechler displayed two stuffed bears outside his office. Frequently, one bore a sign stating, "We support the right to arm bears."
After an ill-fated run for Congress in 2000, Hechler had to find a new home for the bears before his term expired, since incoming Secretary of State Joe Manchin had no interest in retaining them, and Hechler ultimately found a willing taker in McGraw.
Coming from New Jersey, it's doubtful that the new Attorney General knows that the black bear is our state animal, let alone would want to keep the bears on display. (At some point, the two evidently had a baby, since the current display is of a trio of bears.)
They can't go back to the previous location, since that space is currently taken up by a video display featuring programming promoting Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
Perhaps the incoming agriculture commissioner Helmick could display them, as a show of his bona fides as an agrarian and outdoorsman ...
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.