Following significant turnover in the Republican caucus since the 2010 election, Senate Republicans have made recent changes to their leadership and the Senate committee structure. First, the caucus elected Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) as the new Majority Floor Leader. He replaced Jimmy Stewart, who left the Senate to take a position in the private sector. Later in the month, President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) made multiple changes to the committees structure and membership, including creating a single Senate Judiciary Committee from the merger of separate committees on civil and criminal justice. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills), chair of the former Senate Judiciary-Civil Justice Committee, will chair the new unified committee. Larry Obhof (R-Medina) will be vice chairman, the same role he served on the criminal justice committee. Bill Coley (R-West Chester) will take over chairmanship of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee from Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) was appointed to the Senate Finance Committee. Several of the changes were precipitated by the departure of Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) who was appointed to a judgeship in Geauga County. The Senate Republican Caucus is accepting applications for Grendell’s vacant 18th District Senate seat through the close of business on Friday, October 14, 2011.