The challenge is to do good things without harming the good things we already have in place.
We started back in Legislative Session at 12:00 noon on January 12. We always start Session on the second Tuesday of January every year. Each start is full of excitement and this year was no different with lots of new people and lots of extra security.
This year starts the 112th General Assembly, which will last for twoyears. On Tuesday, we all got sworn in by Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby. Then we held the vote to elect our new Speaker of the House- Cameron Sexton. Speaker Sexton is a good friend of mine and came into the House a year after I did. Next, I was honored to be elected Speaker Pro Tempore. My role will be to help the Speaker in his daily duties and also to relieve him from time to time at the House podium when we are in Session. I am looking forward to being on our leadership team and helping our state become even better and healthier.
On Wednesday, we met in Session and started the first and second readings of some of the proposed bills before adjourning until that afternoon. Then we headed over to the War Memorial Auditorium at 10 a.m. to meet with all of the Senators for a joint Session to elect our constitutional officers. Jason Mumpower was elected Comptroller of the Treasury, Tre Hargett was reelected as Secretary of State, and David Lillard was reappointed as Treasurer. All three of these men have been around for several years and are very qualified to lead our state. They help contribute to our positive business environment, manage our bonds and revenues, and make sure our boards, citizens, cities, and counties are being run in an efficient and legal manner.
We continued our Floor Session that afternoon and the committee assignments were announced for the next two years. I was placed on seven regular committees and a few special ones. I am on the Health Committee, the Health Subcommittee, the Transportation Committee, the State Government Committee and one of its Subcommittees- Public Services, the Government Operations Committee, and the Calendar and Rules Committee. I am also chairman of the House Rules Committee, a member of the Ethics Committee, and chairman of the Ethics Subcommittee. It’s going to be a very busy year!
On Thursday, I was asked by Speaker Sexton to run the House Floor Session at 1 p.m. I was very apprehensive and nervous about standing at the podium and looking over 98 of my peers. However, it seemed to go well and I didn’t make any big mistakes. The next time will be much easier and certainly less stressful!
We had several committee meetings on Thursday afternoon to discuss the TennCare Block Grant Resolution and then took it up on the House Floor Friday morning. There was a lengthy, heated discussion that lasted for about 2.5 hours on if we should or shouldn’t go forward with the proposal. It finally passed- 70 to 22. For well over a year, I heard testimony from both sides and a lot of information from TennCare directly. I think it was the right thing for our state to do. If you would like more information on the Medicaid Shared Savings Plan that we passed, please email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to send you additional information.
We will be back next week to start our Special Session on Education, which was called by Governor Lee. We must make some legislative changes to our laws for our schools to remain in a positive financial position. We also need to make sure our schools and teachers are not being penalized for potential test scores because of the corona virus.
Things will be different up here this year for visitors, but please don’t let that stop you from reaching out to me or my assistant, Laura, if we can be of assistance. You can reach us by phone at 615-741-6824 or by email at email@example.com. This week always reminds me how fortunate I am to have your trust and I want to make sure I continue to make sure you feel confident of your decision to send me up to Nashville to represent you and your families.