Legislative Update, January 12. 2019


Tennessee General Assembly information, click HERE. For information on State Senators, including phone numbers and email addresses, click HERE; for House members, click HERE. For information on legislation, click HERE.
Don't forget that you can now watch the Senate committee meetings and floor sessions online by going HERE; House committee meetings and floor sessions online HERE.
Phone calls can go to the legislative Switchboard at 615-741-3011 or to the Toll Free number 1-800-449-8366+1 last four digits of office phone number (available online).
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Rep. Dwayne Thompson (D-Cordova) announced Thursday that his mother-in-law had passed away. Rep.Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville) was absent all week.  You will want remember these folks.

Well, the 111th TN General Assembly Week is now officially under way and the Legislative Flag is flying.  With so many new legislators being sworn in, all their families and guests, plus the returning lawmakers, their guests and families, opening day was very exciting.
Then Speaker Beth Harwell called the House to order at noon on the dot.
Speaker election: The Republicans nominated Rep. Glen Casada and the Democrats nominated Rep. Karen Camper. Rep. Casada won 75-22 with one legislator 'passing' and three Democrats voting for Glen. Beth then passed to gavel to Glen.

The Speaker Pro-Tem: The Republicans nominated Rep. Bill Dunn and the Democrats nominated Rep. Bo Mitchell.  Rep. Dunn 77-21 won with four Democrats supporting Bill.
The election of these two leaders is done by a roll call by the House Clerk and not on the 'tote board' which makes it a little more exciting.
On Wednesday, the two bodies came together in a Joint Convention to hold the election of the State Comptroller - Justin Wilson - and State Treasurer -  David Lillard. Both were elected by acclamation.  These Constitutional officers are elected every two years. (The Secretary of State is elected every four years.)
Thursday the BIG news was the appointment by the respective Speakers of the committees.

Lt. Governor McNally Announces Committee Appointments For The 111th General Assembly .

Kelsey out as Senate judiciary chairman in leadership shuffle .

Casada assigns House committees .

Speaker Casada Shakes Up State Government With Historic Changes .

Tennessee State Comptroller and Treasurer Re-Elected To Their Posts .

Haley Collins, age 15, is from East Tennessee. She attended a local, public school until the age of ten when government overreach in the school took her from a happy, straight-A student to being miserable and absolutely hating school and then started homeschooling. That is where Haley’s political journey began as an activist and volunteer, especially on pro-life issues. It wasn't long after that when Haley began attending Teen Eagle meetings. After her family had driven her to Middle TN for monthly Teen Eagle meetings for several years, Haley worked to form a chapter in East TN. That program provided many opportunities for her to pursue her political interests including volunteering for several candidates, including the Bill Lee campaign. In twenty years, Haley hopes to have completed law school and be pursuing a career in politics, but, in general, she strives to be a leader, a role model, and a woman of action.


Jaime Christley is a homeschooled high school senior from Rutherford county. She plans to double major in public relations and English and get a job using her degree in the political world. Most of her time is spent competing in speech and debate across the nation. In her free time she enjoys playing piano and guitar. Jaime is very excited to intern with TN Eagle Forum this session, and can’t wait to learn more about her government. 


The first day of the 111th General Assembly was chaotic, to say the least, and according to many legislators this session is going to be extremely ”interesting." The majority of the day was spent meeting people, from legislators and their families to staff and constituents. I don't think I've ever shaken so many hands in my entire life! I was also able to watch the swearing in of the House members. The House voted overwhelmingly for Rep. Glen Casada to serve as House Speaker, and Rep. Bill Dunn to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. There were even Democrats who voted for Casada and Dunn. In Dunn’s acceptance comments, he asked that, with the new year being a time for resolutions, “Can we all resolve to not be like DC?” I hope they will. I also got to hear a protestor. What was he protesting? I do not know. He was clearly NOT effective. If you ever want to protest something, please take a more effective route than screaming throughout the foyer of the capitol building


Christian minister and civil rights activist Ralph Abernathy once said, “I don't know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.”  This session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly is filled with mystery as thirty-one new legislators take the floor.  Although we don’t yet know the future of this freshman group of leaders, we can be assured that there is still a God present in the heart of our state. On Wednesday, following the joint convention in the house of representatives, a prayer and worship service was held by our legislators. Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, and other leaders of our state gathered together to ask God for guidance and blessing for the upcoming years to come. One thing can be certain as we watch the “three white stars on a field of blue”, that "God will keep them strong and ever true.”

The State Senate and House stand in recess for January 14-17. During this time, all the legislative offices will be moved around for this session.  On the 18th, both the Senate and the House will reconvene in the afternoon for the Fourth Organization Day and in preparation for the Inauguration of Governor-elect Bill Lee, both chambers will meet on the morning of the 19th for the Fifth Organizational Day.
It is my understanding that the Senate will not be back until January 28th, and the House will return the week of 22nd (the 21st is a holiday) for some meetings.

Gov.-elect Lee announces inauguration events  
Gov.-elect Bill Lee announced a weekend of events coinciding with his inauguration as the 50th governor of Tennessee.
Lee’s “Believe in Tennessee” events will be held in Nashville on Jan. 18-20. Event details, tickets and reservations are available on the website.
“Maria and I are honored to serve Tennessee and we are excited to gather with folks from across the state for the inaugural,” said Lee in a news release. “We’ve visited all 95 counties twice, and we know that Tennesseans care deeply about our state. We live in a remarkable state, with remarkable people, and I believe that as good as a place as Tennessee is, we can be even better, and we can lead the nation.”
Lee’s inauguration ceremony will be on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. on Legislative Plaza. The oath will be administered by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins.

Medical marijuana bill will be introduced by Tennessee lawmakers
Updated 1:48 p.m. CT Jan. 10, 2019
Medical or recreational marijuana is legal in 33 states, but not Tennessee.
Sen. Janice Bowling and Rep. Ron Travis announced Thursday they plan to introduce a bill to change that.
The legislation is expected to be one of as many as three medical marijuana bills proposed this year.
Two Republican state lawmakers announced Thursday they are in the final stages of drafting medical marijuana legislation, renewing the state's debate over a drug that has become increasingly legal and accepted after decades of taboo.
As proposed, the legislation would create a new government commission to regulate the marijuana industry and allow patients who have been diagnosed with certain illnesses to obtain a medical card permitting them to legally purchase marijuana products from dispensaries that the state would license.
State Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, and Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, said they will introduce the bill in the coming weeks, and their effort is already endorsed by the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Trade Association, according to a news release.

Gov.-elect Bill Lee asks lawmakers for prayer, stresses his views on separation of church and state .
Gov.-elect Bill Lee on Wednesday asked a group of lawmakers to continuing praying for him and his wife, Maria, as he prepares to take office and reiterated his stance on the separation of church and state.
"The separation of church and state is never intended to keep people of faith out of government, but to keep government out of the church," Lee told members of the Tennessee Legislative Prayer Caucus.
He asked those gathered to continue praying for him as he prepares to be sworn in as governor Jan. 19.
"And I can tell you we are praying for the nearly 7 million people who live in this state," Lee said.
Lee, who knows TLPC state director Marlene Tidwell from his previous work chairing the Tennessee prayer breakfast and serving on its committee, briefly discussed the importance of his Christian faith to what he has said is his God-given calling to lead the state, he told the lawmakers gathered

Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Lee steps down from Lee Company, places assets in blind trust
Gov.-elect Bill Lee has stepped down as chairman of Lee Company and placed his company holdings into a blind trust, his office announced Wednesday.
He resigned from Lee Company, the Franklin-based family business where he had worked more than 35 years, on Dec. 21.


The first week of the 2019 legislative session is behind us.  I expect that you know family and friends who would like to get the weekly round up of what is happening at the Capitol, what bills are being introduced, what bills are moving and who to contact to make their voice heard so that they can be an informed participant in THEIR government.  Would you share this update with them and encourage them to go to REGISTER and sign up.  They won't be sorry.



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