State Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield) and state Rep. Gerald Fox, III (D-Stamford) will be named the new co-chairs of the state legislature’s judiciary committee, the Hanging Shad has learned. Committee announcements will be made this week, some as early as today.

The chairmanships became vacant when longtime committee leaders state Sen. Andrew McDonald and state Rep. Michael Lawlor both announced they would not take the oath of office next month for another two-year term in order to serve in the administration of Gov.-elect Dan Malloy. McDonald will work in the new governor’s office and presumably hold substantial influence and power while Lawlor will join Malloy’s budget office but work on criminal justice issues among others. The judiciary committee has cognizance over controversial issues such as the death penalty, gay marriage/civil unions, gun control and all criminal law.

Coleman’s co-chairmanship is actually a return to the post. He became co-chair of judiciary back in 2001, making history as the first African American to hold the position. He currently serves as co-chair of the planning and development committee. He is also the vice chair of the human services committee.

Fox is currently the House vice-chair of judiciary and is an assistant majority leader currently serving his third term in the House of Representatives. He also serves as a member of the planning and development committee, and a member of the transportation committee. Fox co-chaired a special task force on domestic violence in immigrant communities and served on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ law and criminal justice committee.

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