This month, the 112th Tennessee General Assembly convened in Nashville on January 12th to begin the 2021 legislative session, starting the first of a two-year legislative session. The first week of session is referred to as “organizational week” where the House and Senate adopt rules of order, elect leadership, and make new committee and office assignments. However, the General Assembly held the organizational session in two days, shifting gears quickly into a short regular session at the tail end of the week. The General Assembly reelected Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R- Oak Ridge) – who serves as Speaker of the Senate – and House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) to their respective leadership posts.
Now, having a full session under his belt and with a brand new General Assembly, Speaker Sexton put his own stamp on the committee structure, with a revamped committee structure and a handful of new committee chairmen. The House Transportation Committee will continued to be chaired by Rep. Dan Howell (R- Georgetown) and will only have one subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Sam Whitson (R- Franklin). The Senate Transportation Committee will continue to be chaired by Senator Becky Massey (R- Knoxville). Representative Patsy Hazlewood (R- Signal Mountain) will now serve as Chair to the powerful House Finance, Ways & Means Committee, with Representative Gary Hicks (R- Rogersville) chairing the subcommittee.
After the organizational week, the General Assembly rapidly completed a special legislative session the following week aimed at education matters, approving a $160 million package of bills addressing literacy, standardized testing, and other remedial measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In four days, lawmakers approved three separate bills and a separate budget bill allocating funding for the legislative proposals offered by Governor Bill Lee (R-Franklin).
Following the adjournment of the General Assembly’s special session, the legislators now stand in a two-week recess, with lawmakers returning to Nashville on February 8th to begin the regular session with Governor Lee’s annual State of the State Address. The Senate set their bill filing deadline for Thursday, February 11th, and the House set its deadline for Wednesday, February 17th. As always, it is a pleasure to represent you at the Tennessee General Assembly.