By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter, R-Burnsville, will serve as the new chair of the state House Fees and Salaries Committee.
The selection of Carpenter to committee chair was one of many assignments made by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, during the first week of the 2014 session.
“To be a chair of a committee is a big honor,” said Carpenter, who is in his second term. “…It is an important committee. It deals with the salaries of employees of the state.”
Plus, the committee oversees the salaries for many local offices.
The speaker makes committee assignments at the start of each four-year term. But because of several openings caused by both resignations and deaths, Gunn was required to make committee assignments during the opening week for six new members. He also had to fill some vacant committee chairs.
Rep. John Read, R-Gautier, was chair of Fees and Salaries. But he was moved to chair Conservation to fill the vacancy created by the death of Rep. Jessica Upshaw, R-Diamondhead, during the 2013 session.
The new House members who received their committee assignments this week included two Northeast Mississippians – Rep. Karl Gibbs, D-West Point, who replaced his father, David, who died during the 2013 session, and Rep. John Faulkner, D-Holly Springs, who replaced Kelvin Buck, who was elected mayor of Holly Springs.
Gibbs was assigned to Agriculture; Apportionment and Elections, Military Affairs; Youth and Family Affairs.
Faulkner was assigned to Conservation and Water Resources; Military Affairs; Universities and Colleges; and Youth and Family Affairs.
Carpenter said he had no plans for the Fees and Salaries Committee other than “get my feet wet” and determine which bills are filed and assigned to the panel before taking action. Any state employee pay raise would most likely originate in Fees and Salaries, though there is little talk of such action during the 2014 session.
Carpenter previously had served as vice chair of Banking and Financial Services. Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, a freshman, will take over that slot.