Political Notebook

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2 new chairman in Senate

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Thursday he created two new committees to "build the bench" in the Senate Republican caucus.

"I need to give people who show leadership skills the opportunity to get experience," he said.

So Long split off two topics into their own committees: Civil Law will focus on civil legal matters and Financial Institutions will look at banking laws.

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, will head Financial Institutions and Sen. Joe Zakas, R-Granger, will lead Civil Law.

Most committee chairmen get an additional $1,000 in pay unless they also hold a significant leadership post.

Holdman already gets an additional $2,000 as assistant majority whip, so he won't see more money as chairman. Zakas will get the chairmanship pay.

The new committees bring the total to 21 in the 50-member Senate. The 100-member House last year had 25 committees. The 2013 House Committee list has not been released yet.

It is sometimes difficult during the session to get enough members to establish a quorum in the committees. That's because there are often multiple committees with overlapping membership meeting at the same time.

Long said the two new committees won't add to the problem because they will meet on an every-other-week-rotation with two other committees – Elections and Insurance.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.