The 110th Tennessee General Assembly gaveled in… and out.
The Tennessee legislative session convened on January 10th at noon, selected leadership, and convened until January 30. Several controversial bills have already been introduced.
Here's what caught our eye in and around the Tennessee Legislature this week.
- Rep. Beth Harwell [R-Nashville] was officially re-elected as Speaker of the Tennessee House.
- Sen. Randy McNally [R-Oak Ridge] elected as Tennessee’s 87th Speaker of the Senate.
- Check out new committee assignments for the 110th General Assembly.
- Tennessee lawmakers have until February 9th to file bills for this session. (This deadline is one of the reasons why many bills are initially filed as "shells" and changed later in the session.)
- Speaker Harwell announced a new bipartisan committee to handle sexual harassment complaints.
- Two Nashville reporters checked out the new #TNLeg sexual harassment training video, which all members and staff are now required to watch.
- Lawmakers must also disclose "any out-of-state trip with a cost over $100 paid for by an outside sponsor."
- Twenty lawmakers sent a letter questioning Haslam's plan to privatize maintenance work on Tennessee public college campuses. See: more from Nashville Scene on the companies bidding for the work.
- The Tennessee General Assembly stands adjourned until January 30.
- State revenues in December were $150 million over estimates (h/t Humphry on the Hill)
- The Sycamore Institute released an opening day primer on the Tennessee State budget: "State Budget Surpluses, Rainy Day Funds, and Deficits"
- The Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus hired a former Haslam aide to lead efforts to seek state action on transit funding.
- Governor Haslam tells Congress: ACA reform should give power to states.
- The governor will attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on January 20.
- The conservative Heritage Foundation briefed TN lawmakers on their priorities for 2017.
- Libertarian think tank, the Beacon Center, released its 2017 Tennessee agenda, which includes: school vouchers, reducing state licensing regulations, and criminal justice reform.
- Education news service Chalkbeat outlined its four education issues to watch in the 2017 General Assembly (funding, vouchers, achievement school districts, testing).
- A group of Middle Tennessee businesses announced an effort, TennesseeThrives, to "unit[e] against discriminatory laws".
- Bridge Refugee Services reported a 35 percent increase in refugees settling in Knox County since 2014.
- The https://www.facebook.com/pg/AmericanMuslimAdvisoryCouncil/posts/American Muslim Advisory Council, representing Tennessee Muslims, held a Community Day & Jummah Prayer at the State Capitol to "break the ice with lawmakers" and encourage more participation by their members in the legislative process.
- AirBnB and other short-term rentals may be the "polarizing issue od the year" in Nashville.
- SJR0009/HJR0024: Convention of the States – calls for a convention of states to plan for an Article V Convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution (see related story TN Journal)
- HB0011: TN Hearing Protection Act – removing firearms silencers from a list of banned items having “no common lawful purpose.” (see related story AP)
- SB0030/HB0033: "requires that the words 'husband,' 'wife,' 'mother,' and 'father' be given their natural and ordinary meaning…" (see related story FoxNews17)
- HB0043: "prohibits recipients of EBT cards (food stamps) from using the card to purchase food that is high in calories, sugar, and fat, as recommended by the United States department of agriculture…" (see related story WKRN)
- HB0040: "Constitutional Carry" Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act – allowing anyone who lawfully possesses a firearm to carry their gun in “open” and visible fashion without first needing a government-issued permit (see related story Johnson City Press)
Got Tennessee updates? Send 'em our way!