Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney file photo

With the departure of five senators, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, took the opportunity Tuesday to change the leadership of more than a dozen committees, effective next month on the opening day of the 2015 session.

Looney’s own job will change on opening day as he succeeds the retiring Sen. Donald E. Williams Jr. as president pro tem, the chamber’s top leader. Democrats lost one seat in the November election, but they will control the Senate, 21 to 15.

Ted Kennedy Jr. of Branford, the best-known among the four incoming freshman Democrats, will be the co-chair of the Environment Committee. The other freshman assignments: Marilyn Moore of Bridgeport, Human Services; Tim Larson of East Hartford, Public Safety and Security; Mae Flexer of Killingly will lead two committees, Aging and Veterans Affairs.

The Senate leadership of the three highest-profile committees — Appropriations, Finance and Judiciary — remains unchanged.

Sens. Flexer, Andres Ayala Jr., Dante Bartolomeo, John Fonfara and Gary Winfield will lead two panels, since there are more committees than Democrats. Kennedy also will have two assignments, but the second, the Internship Committee, does not oversee legislation.

Senators are paid a minimum of $33,500 annually: $28,000 in salary and $5,500 in additional compensation for expenses, whether they are incurred or not. Legislative salaries have not increased in 13 years.

But all senators get additional stipends as committee co-chairs or other leadership posts. Committee co-chairs get additional pay of $4,241.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, announced the House co-chairs last week.

The General Assembly has joint committees with a co-chair from the Senate and House. The Democratic majority controls every chairmanship with two exceptions: the Regulation Review and the Program Review and Investigations committees are bipartisan panels.

House and Senate Co-Chairs 2015
Democrats control every committee except two bipartisan panels, Program Review and Regulations Review. The House co-chair of Program Review and Senate co-chair of Regulation Review will be named by Republicans. *Mushinsky and Ayala will be ranking Democrats.
Committee House Co-chair Senate Co-chair
Aging Joseph Serra Mae Flexer
Appropriations Toni Walker Beth Bye
Banks Matt Lesser Carlo Leone
Children Diana Urban Dante Bartolomeo
Commerce Chris Perone Joan Hartley
Education Andrew Fleischmann Gayle Slossberg
Energy & Technology Lonnie Reed Paul Doyle
Environment James Albis Ted Kennedy Jr.
Executive & Legislative Nominations Claire Janowski Bob Duff
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Jeffrey Berger John Fonfara
General Law David Baram Andres Ayala Jr.
Government Administration and Elections Ed Jutila Steve Cassano
Higher Education & Employment Advancement Roberta Willis Dante Bartolomeo
Housing Larry Butler Gary Winfield
Human Services Cathy Abercrombie Marilyn Moore
Insurance & Real Estate Robert Megna Joe Crisco
Internship Theresa Conroy Ted Kennedy Jr.
Judiciary William Tong Eric Coleman
Labor & Public Employees Peter Tercyak Gary Winfield
Legislative Management Brendan Sharkey Martin Looney
Planning & Development Auden Grogins Cathy Osten
Program Review & Investigations Mary Mushinsky* John Fonfara
Public Health Matthew Ritter Terry Gerratana
Public Safety & Security Stephen Dargan Tim Larson
Regulation Review Brian Becker Andres Ayala Jr.*
Transportation Antonio Guerrera Andrew Maynard
Veterans’ Affairs Jack Hennessy Mae Flexer

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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