Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is to be the new chair of the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, reports the Nature News Blog. Smith takes the spot over from Ralph Hall, also a Republican from Texas, who had to step down from leading the committee due to Republican term-limitation rules. Smith was chosen for the position over the other candidates, Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), by a steering committed led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the article notes.
The Nature News Blog adds that Smith has previously chaired the House judiciary committee where he oversaw the America Invents Act legislation and that Smith has been a part of efforts to better allow foreign graduates with science and engineering degrees from US schools to remain in the US.