Key legislative committee chairs chosen

From left are Walt Blackman and Travis Grantham

By Nathan Brown|  Arizona Capitol Times  

Rep. Walt Blackman will be the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, whose purview will expand to include criminal justice reform bills as well. 

Blackman, R-Snowflake, had previously been the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Reform Committee, which first met this year. The committee advanced numerous bills aimed at overhauling Arizona’s criminal justice system; some of them became law, while others stalled when they didn’t get hearings in the Senate. The Judiciary chairmanship became vacant when former Rep. Frank Pratt died in September. With Blackman’s new role, the Criminal Justice Reform Committee will be dissolved and Judiciary will hear its bills instead. 

The House Republican leadership announced new committee assignments for 2022 on Monday, taking into account the nine House seats that have become vacant since the end of the 2021 session. New members have already been appointed to six of those seats. Three Democratic seats are still vacant, and the announcement leaves empty spots for the Democrats to fill on the House Military and Public Safety; Natural Resources, Energy and Water; Government and Elections and Judiciary committees. 

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