Briggs to Judiciary, Vitali to Energy as House Dems name committee chairs

Briggs to Judiciary, Vitali to Energy as House Dems name committee chairs

Author: Stephen Caruso/Monday, January 7, 2019/Categories: News and Views

House Democrats named their committee chairs Monday morning, shuffling a few of their top committees.

Rep. Joe Petrarca (D-Westmoreland), representing a trending red western Pennsylvania district, was moved from his seat at the head of the House Judiciary Committee to Children and Youth.

Petrarca had voted against numerous gun control measures, including HB 2060 and a universal background check bill that failed by one vote in committee. The 24-year legislator, who chaired the committee for the last two sessions, had also supported a bill to make sanctuary cities libel for crimes undocumented immigrants commit in their jurisdiction.

Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) is taking over on Judiciary, who previously chaired a Judiciary subcommittee and helmed Health after former chair Flo Fabrizio (D-Erie) died in office last summer.

Briggs promised to fight for gun control measures and criminal justice reform in a release.

“I look forward to building on the progress made last session – including the passage of clean slate legislation – over the next two years as we develop legislative solutions to the greatest challenges facing Pennsylvania’s judicial system," he said.

Senior Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) also returned to the chairmanship of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee after a session committee-less. He'll sit across from the new Republican committee chief Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), who's previously bragged about blocking Democratic bills in committee.

The seemingly tough pairing hasn't discouraged Vitali though, who pointed to his time with Metcalfe as a former State Government Committee member.

He acknowledged his spot means playing more defense than offense on topics like regulatory reform, but didn't rule out trying to build a working relationship on what could be an "active committee."

"I simply want to be well prepared and strive for good relations,” Vitali said.

With the ascension of former Democratic State Government head Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) to Appropriations, that left open the position to a new face, Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia).

The swap on the other side of the aisle, of Metcalfe for Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) left Boyle hopeful that the two could team up to improve the committee's reputation from a "laughingstock" and work together on some big issues, such as LGBT fairness and redistricting reform.

"[Everett's] definitely not Daryl Metcalfe, he’s a very respectful guy,” Boyle said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) moved to the open Transportation Committee slot with the retirement of Rep. William Keller (D-Philadelphia). Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), an appropriations chair hopeful, moved on to head the House Health Committee.

See the full list below:

Aging and Older Adult Services:
Rep. Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton)

Agriculture and Rural Affairs:
Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne)

Children and Youth:
Rep. Joseph Petrarca (D-Westmoreland)

Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks)

Consumer Affairs:
Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver)


Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia)

Environmental Resources and Energy:
Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware)

Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny)

Game and Fisheries:
Rep. William Kortz (D-Allegheny)

Gaming Oversight:
Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre)

Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny)

Human Services:
Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia)

Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny)

Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery)

Labor and Industry:
Rep. Patrick Harkins (D-Erie)

Liquor Control:
Rep. Dan Deasy (D-Allegheny)

Local Government:
Rep. Bob Freeman (D-Northampton)

Professional Licensure:
Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny)

State Government:
Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia)

Tourism and Recreational Development:
Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer)

Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne)

Urban Affairs:
Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks)

Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness:
Rep. Christopher Sainato (D-Lawrence)

House Republican majority chairs were named last week.

Stephen Caruso is the Harrisburg bureau chief at The PLS Reporter. Have a question, comment or tip? Email him at or call at 845-891-4306.