Tennessee Legislative Recap: Lee Highlights Transportation, Energy in Inaugural Address; Senate Gets Underway


Governor Bill Lee Sworn In for Second and Final Term 

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee took the oath of office for his second and final four-year term on January 21, featuring a day that began with a star-studded worship service and ended with a black-tie ball. More than 1,500 people were slated to attend Gov. Lee’s inauguration, held outside at Legislative Plaza under sunny skies, a welcomed departure from his last inauguration which was forced inside due to rain. In his inaugural address, Lee praised Tennessee’s virtues as leading the nation in economic development and fiscal stewardship while touting the need for civility, a gesture likely aimed at encouraging nonpartisan efforts among lawmakers. He laid out his vision for the remainder of his time in office, including developing the transportation and energy strategy his administration first unveiled earlier this month, enhancing conservation efforts, and improving the state’s foster care and adoption system to better protect children. Earlier this month, Governor Lee introduced the Transportation Modernization Act, his administration’s infrastructure plan to address the state’s exponential growth and resulting traffic congestion. Lee emphasized his ongoing commitment to Tennesseans to not take on any debt or raise taxes, but shared his intention to make “strategic transportation investments that prepare rural and urban communities for increased economic advantages and improved mobility in the years ahead.” Through the use of choice lanes, increased private investment in urban roadways, and efforts toward quicker delivery on road projects, Lee’s proposal seeks to solve current and future mobility challenges.

Supreme Court Vacancy 

Governor Lee is tasked with nominating the next Tennessee Supreme Court judge from three finalists to replace Justice Sharon Lee’s vacated seat when she retires August 31. This will be Governor Lee’s second appointment, and makes all five Supreme Court Justices Republican appointments. On the list for the Governor’s consideration:

  • Kristi Davis of Knoxville; Davis currently serves as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, having previously served as a judge in Knox County Circuit Court, Division 1 and 14 years in private practice.
  • Tom Greenholtz of Ooltewah; Greenholtz is an Eastern Section judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • Dwight E. Tarwater of Knoxville; Tarwater has practiced law since 1980 and previously served as a partner at Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP. He also served as general counsel to former Governor Bill Haslam between 2014-2018.

Following the Governor’s nomination, the General Assembly must confirm the appointment. 

Special Election for House District 86 

By a wide margin, Justin J. Pearson (D-Memphis) won the Tennessee House District 86 special election to fill the seat formerly held by late Representative Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis). Pearson easily defeated nine other candidates, including Rep. Cooper’s daughter, Tanya Cooper. Rep. Cooper served in the General Assembly for more than 25 years and was the oldest serving lawmaker in Tennessee recorded history.  There was no Republican candidate for the seat, so Pearson will take office February 1.  Pearson is a community activist in Memphis that is best known for leading efforts against a pipeline that would have run near a water aquifer and through poor, predominantly black neighborhoods in Memphis.  

Looking Ahead 

While the Senate got underway last week, the House remained adjourned, as members continue to get settled into new offices and complete organizational tasks. The Senate largely devoted its week to introductions and presentations. 

Both chambers will be in session this week, signaling the end of the organizational period.  With that, legislative activity will start picking up over the next couple of weeks, marked by a flurry of filing activity early next week in advance of Tuesday’s House bill filing deadline. The Senate deadline is two days later, on Thursday, February 2.  We expect committee calendars to begin filling up two to three weeks from now. 

Governor Lee’s State of the State address is scheduled for February 6, where he will mark the state’s accomplishments and outline his legislative priorities for the year. 



How about adding just one more New Year’s resolution to your list? Volunteer to speak to a class of middle school or high school students about the trucking industry and future career opportunities. Yes, you can do it. It is important to pass along our own experience and knowledge to future generations, it’s rewarding and now it is easier than ever. NGT has just launched a tool to help you tell the trucking story!


Exploring Careers: Trucking Industry classroom presentation is available to download for free from NextGenTrucking.org and can be used by anyone in trucking to educate students about the nature of our industry and open their eyes to possibilities. Not only is it formatted in PowerPoint and geared toward students but includes (6) videos to further explain and illustrate why trucking matters.


We are grateful to the task force of industry experts that contributed their time in developing the presentation, the financial contributions to produce the presentation, and those of you with a passion for trucking who will find it useful to inspire the next generation.   


Lindsey Trent

President & Co-Founder, Next Gen Trucking Association | www.nextgentrucking.org

Want to Drive Down Your Drivers Risk of Developing Diabetes?

The St. Christopher Truckers Fund (SCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves over-the-road semi-truck drivers across the nation. The SCF has two missions of service. The first mission is to provide financial assistance to drivers and their families when an illness or injury has recently caused them to be out of work. The second mission is to make the truck driver population one that is healthier through prevention programs and education. One study of professional drivers showed that over 70% of drivers interviewed had at least one health issue such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or smoking. With this, and our health prevention mission in mind, we have implemented a tobacco cessation, a heart/total body health, and a diabetes prevention program.

Do you know that approximately one in three people in America are considered pre-diabetic and
eight of ten of those people don’t know it? What does that mean for you? If you have 100 drivers in your fleet, 33 of them are most likely pre-diabetic. That can not only affect the health of your drivers, but it can also affect your bottom line.

The SCF has earned recognition as a CDC-approved diabetes prevention program. While using the CDC curriculum for the program, we have tailored it to meet the needs of truck drivers and call it Driving Down Diabetes. Past and present participants have had much success lowering their risk of diabetes. They have collectively lost well over 5% of their body weight, lowered their blood pressure, adopted healthier eating

 practices, and increased their time spent

 moving. Drivers have rated our program 5 stars, and we’ve even had repeat participants who learned the tools the first time but wanted to stay on top of their health and really ingrain the practices taught into their lives. One participant stated, “It’s devoting one hour a week that can change your life”. A past participant said, 


Ten months after completing the program, I have kept off the 50lbs I lost, my A1c is in the normal range, and I recently walked in a 10-mile benefit for cancer.”

That is success for life!

What exactly is this Diabetes Prevention Program thing, you ask? Great question! SCF’s diabetes prevention program is FREE for all Class A CDL, over-the-road professional drivers who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Not sure if you or your drivers are at risk? Use our risk assessment tool to see if you’re eligible for the program. We encourage every at-risk driver to participate in this evidence-based lifestyle change program to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Driving Down Diabetes includes a CDC-approved curriculum, a lifestyle coach specially trained to lead the program, and a support group of other drivers who have similar goals and challenges. The program offers weekly classes focusing on nutrition, getting active, stress management, sleep, and more. 

What makes our program different from others who offer similar programs? How does FREE sound? That’s right, there is no cost to participate. The program’s sponsorship by Southern Recipe has allowed us to offer this program for free, and to also provide scales, blood pressure monitors, activity trackers, resistance bands, and glucose monitors for those who need them.

SCF is beginning a new Driving Down Diabetes weekly session group on February 7th, 2023. We will meet Live on Mondays at 7 pm CT via the Zoom app. The program is a one-year commitment to making little lifestyle changes that can ultimately save or extend your life. It’s never too late to take steps to feel and be the best you possible. And it’s never too late to show your drivers you care about their health.

So, what can you as a company do?

  • Tell your drivers about the program.
  • Offer incentives for drivers to register and complete the program.
  • Visit Driving Down Diabetes to have your drivers register to participate.

If you are interested in learning more about any of our wellness programs, please contact Julie at julie@truckersfund.org or 865-544-8145. You can also visit our website for more information.

About Julie: Julie Dillon is the Health & Wellness Manager for St. Christopher Truckers


Click here to discover even more amazing programs from St. Christopher Truckers






Tennessee General Assembly Kicks Off 2023 Session; Governor’s Inauguration Set for January 21; 2023 Annual PAC Registration Due


The 113th Tennessee General Assembly kicked off the 2023 legislative session this week in Nashville, beginning the first year of a two-year legislative session.

Legislature Elects Leadership and Constitutional Officers               

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) was elected to his third term as speaker of the Senate, with all 27 Republicans voting unanimously in favor of the current Speaker, while the six Senate Democrats abstained from voting. House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) was elected to his second full term with 76 members voting in favor. The other 22 votes went to Democratic Caucus Chair John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville). The House and Senate unanimously reelected Comptroller Jason Mumpower and Treasurer David Lillard for new two-year terms. Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s four-year term isn’t up until 2024.

Changes to Committee Chairs 

In the House, Speaker Sexton named Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) to succeed retired Dickson state Rep. Michael Curcio as chair of the Civil Justice Committee. Rep. David Hawk (R-Greenville) was appointed chair of the Health Subcommittee, taking over the position previously held by former Rep. Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville) who was defeated in last year’s Republican primary. Rep. Chris Todd (R-Jackson) succeeds retired Rep. Curtis Halford (R-Dyer) as chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Sexton decided to do away with the Naming and Designating Committee, created in 2019 by former Representative and House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin). New to the committee structure this year is the Population Health Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Michele Carringer (R-Knoxville).

The Senate saw minimal changes with its committee structure, with the exception of Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) appointed as the new chair of the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) will continue as chair of the Education Committee. Lundberg was named interim chair last legislative session, following former Sen. Brian Kelsey’s (R-Germantown) decision to step down as chair.

Governor Lee 2023 Inauguration 

Gov. Bill Lee will take the oath of office for his second term next Saturday, January 21. The inauguration ceremony itselfwill take place at 11 a.m. on Legislative Plaza in Nashville, and a full weekend of activities are planned, including a music event on Lower Broadway, a prayer service, and a dinner and ball. The theme for this year’s inaugural celebration is “Tennessee: Leading the Nation.”

Reminder:  Deadline Approaching for PAC Registration Requirements

As we reported last summer, the ethics laws passed during the 2022 legislative session – which took effect July 1, 2022– made a number of changes to the reporting requirements for PACs.  The law requires all PACs to certify the name and address of its treasurer, officers, and responsible individuals (any person who directly controls expenditures) with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. The new law also requires each PAC to identify at least one officer, not including the treasurer, and identify at least one person who directly controls who expenditures. PACs that existed prior to the July 1, 2022 effective date must submit proper proof of identification for each treasurer, officer, and responsible individual to the Registry no later than January 31, 2023. If a PAC designates a new treasurer, officer, or responsible individual after submitting its annual registration, the PAC must notify the Registry of any new designated individual within 30 days. 

To read more about these changes to the annual PAC registration process, please see slide deck prepared by the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

Looking Ahead 

We are expecting the remainder of January to be relatively slow. Both chambers are taking a break for the first half of next week, but will return to Capitol Hill next Friday and Saturday for Gov. Lee’s inauguration events. The first full week of committee meetings in the Senate will begin on Tuesday, January 24. The House will begin committee meetings the following week on Monday, February 6. Bills are beginning to trickle in, and we are beginning to build our bill tracking reports, which should appear as early as next week. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

The attached NPRM has been published in the Federal Register today, Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0102.

SUMMARY: FMCSA proposes the implementation of certain requirements under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Previously, FMCSA implemented the MAP-21 requirement to increase the financial security amount for brokers from $25,000 to $75,000 for household brokers and from $10,000 to $75,000 for all other property brokers and, for the first time, established financial security requirements for freight forwarders. The agency proposes regulations in five separate areas: Assets readily available; immediate suspension of broker/freight forwarder operating authority; surety or trust responsibilities in cases of broker/freight forwarder financial failure or insolvency; enforcement authority; and entities eligible to provide trust funds for form BMC-85 trust fund filings.

 Public comments are due by March 6, 2023.

PDF : PUBLISHED: Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility