Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) was designated as the chairman for the House Human Services Commit­tee in December. On Friday, Own­bey announced he will also serve on the House Public Safety Committee, House Higher Education and Ca­reerTech Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Hu­man Services.

Ownbey has familiarity with his new assignments. In addition to serving on a bipartisan House DHS Working Group that developed Oklahoma Department of Human Services reforms, Ownbey has worked to improve the safety of Oklahomans during severe weather and increase higher education opportunities in southern Oklahoma.

In 2012, he requested a study on park safety and is currently working on legislation based on the study findings.

"House leadership asks members to give them a list of committees on which they would like to serve and they generally assign them the committees of their choice, as long as it works out logistically," Ownbey said. "I was honored to chair the House Human Services Committee and I feel fortunate to serve on these other committees, which tie into the work I am doing." Looking at the upcoming legislative session, Owbey sees education funding, school safety and worker's compensation as hot topics, which will generate a lot of attention.

"Obviously, education is always going to be at the forefront of educator's minds," Ownbey said. "This year, we will be discussing school safety, school testing and school funding. Legislative leaders have also said worker's comp will be a priority. I think it is going to be an interesting year."