Tennessee’s 112th General Assembly Convenes

The 112th Tennessee General Assembly convened in Nashville on Tuesday for the first week of the 2021 legislative session, beginning the first of a two-year legislative session. The legislature returns to Nashville in the midst of a tumultuous time that will not soon be forgotten. Tennessee was recently listed as one of the worst COVID hotspots in the nation, parts of the city and state are still recovering from last April’s tornadoes, and on Christmas Day the eyes of the world turned to downtown Nashville as a bombing on Second Avenue did significant damage to downtown buildings and the communications infrastructure, but miraculously – and thanks for the quick work of six Nashville police officers – did not cause any deaths other than the bomber himself. Then, just last week, FBI agents raided a number of homes and offices of legislators and legislative staff while performing an investigation, the subject of which has not yet been announced. 


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 for two days, shifting gears quickly into a short regular session at the tail end of the week.


Shortly before the General Assembly gaveled in the 2021 session, the Senate and House announced guidelines to restrict the public’s access to the upcoming proceedings, and it appears that things will pick up in 2021 where they left off in 2020.  The Senate will prohibit in-person attendance to committee meetings or floor sessions, and access to the Senate office floor will be by appointment only.  The House remains open to the public, albeit at limited capacity.  Of note, lawmakers will not be required to wear masks during session; however, visitors and staff will be required to do so. 


One legislator, Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro), has been on a ventilator due to COVID for the better part of the last month.  Byrd was hospitalized in December and went on a ventilator shortly thereafter. While Byrd’s condition has improved, one family member acknowledged that he has a “long and tough road ahead of him.”


Legislature Elects Leadership and Constitutional Officers


           On Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, 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.  Both received overwhelming votes of approval, even from their colleagues across the aisle.  Indeed, McNally was re-elected to the Lt. Governor/Speaker role unanimously, while Sexton received all but one vote from the House. 


          On Wednesday, lawmakers turned their attention to electing the state’s constitutional officers, with the Secretary of State, Comptroller of the Treasury, and State Treasurer up for consideration by joint convention of the General Assembly—a proceeding that this year was held in the War Memorial Building to allow for increased spacing among members.  Tre Hargett and David Lillard were once again elected to their respective positions of Secretary of State and Treasurer.  Meanwhile, Jason Mumpower was elected Comptroller, filling the shows of his former boss, the incomparable Justin Wilson, who recently announced his retirement.  Mumpower has served as Wilson’s top lieutenant for several years, following a distinguished legislative career. 


Committee Consolidation Announced in House, Senate Sees Little Change


         Upon succeeding Glen Casada (R-Franklin) in the speaker’s role in August 2019, Sexton made few changes to the committee structure that Casada had previously adopted.  Now, having a full session under his belt and with a brand new General Assembly, Sexton has put his own stamp on the committee structure, with a revamped committee structure and a handful of new committee chairmen.  Among other things, Sexton split the Judiciary Committee (which previously had four subcommittees) into two full, standing committees: Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.  Mike Carter (R- Ooltewah) and Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) will chair those committees, respectively. Sexton also split the Education Committee into the Education Administration Committee, chaired by Mark White (R-Memphis), and the Education Instruction Committee, chaired by Debra Moody (R- Covington).


        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. The always-influential Commerce Committee will now be chaired by Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville), with Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) getting the nod to chair the Utilities Subcommittee.  The Utilities Subcommittee was previously chaired by Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville), who has now ascended to Speaker Pro Tem.  Sexton also elevated Representative Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar (R- Springfield) to Chairman of the House Insurance Committee.  Other new chairmen include Chris Todd (R-Jackson; Ag. & Nat. Resources Sub.), Clay Doggett (R-Pulaski; Crim. Justice Sub.), Kirk Haston (R-Lobelville; K-12 Sub), Justin Lafferty (R-Knoxville; Higher Ed. Sub.), Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka; Ed. Instruction Sub.), Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville; Appropriations Sub.), David Hawk (R-Greeneville; Insurance Sub.), John Holsclaw (R-Johnson City; Depts. & Agencies Sub.), Esther Helton (R-Chattanooga; Public Service Sub.), and Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville; Calendar & Rules). 


         The Senate saw minimal changes with its committee structure and composition, with the exception of replacing chairmen in the Education Committee and the State and Local Government Committee. Lt. Gov. McNally appointed Senator Brian Kelsey (R- Germantown) to chair Education, while and Richard Briggs (R- Knoxville) will now chair State & Local Government. Other than these appointments and the additions for two new members, Senator Page Walley (R- Bolivar) and Senator Heidi Campbell (D- Nashville), the Senate witnessed few changes in organizational session.


         For your review, attached please find two documents that summarize the House and Senate Committees of the 112th General Assembly.


Medicaid Block Grant Initiative Approved


By virtue of having finally received federal approval last week, Tennessee is now nearing the goal line regarding its much-discussed Medicaid block grant, with the final hurdle likely coming as soon as tomorrow morning.  On January 8, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved of a block grant that the legislature passed during the 2019 legislative session, making Tennessee the first state in the country to be approved for the new process of handling Medicaid. The block grant would cap funding for TennCare, which covers about one-fifth of Tennessee residents, instead of the federal government paying for two-thirds of the cost.


           As contemplated, if the state ends up saving money on the program, it can share in those savings provided the state keeps half to reinvest in government programs. Thus, the key is for the state to operate the program with less cost than the cap or improve quality of aid. Those savings would focus on maternal health coverage, serving additional needy population, clearing wait list for services for those with intellectual and developmental issues, and addressing state specific health issues.


           Critics worry that the program will not provide enough funding for participants if there is a surge of enrollees. However, there is a sliding scale of federal funds if enrollment were to increase in TennCare. As the debate began on the issue, Democrats constantly questioned the urgency with approving the waiver. Republicans argued it made sense to pass the resolution under the current federal administration.


           Now that the federal government has given its final approval, lawmakers are currently in the process of considering the final plans regarding the waiver, which is the final step before the plan can take effect. While a final legislative approval along party lines could come as early as Friday morning, there is a chance that the program may be short lived. The in-coming Biden administration can reverse the block grant plan before it takes effect, which could take months. While Governor Lee does not expect the Biden administration to do so, opponents of the plan say otherwise.    



Special Session on the Horizon


           In December, Governor Bill Lee (R-Franklin) called a special session to begin Tuesday, January 19 where lawmakers will consider various education bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The special session will focus on 5 key issues: learning loss, funding, accountability, literacy and teacher pay–important initiatives of the Lee administration, which were put on hold due to the pandemic last year. Governor Lee called the session to ensure these issues get resolved before the end of the academic year, with the vocal support of leadership in the General Assembly. Governor Lee remarked “even before the virus hit, and despite years of improvement, too many of our state’s students were still unable to read on grade level. I’m calling on the legislature to join us in addressing these serious issues so we can equip our hardworking educators and districts with the resources and supports they need to set our students on the path to success.” The special session was widely applauded by legislative leadership, and the session is only expected to last one week.   


FBI Raid Causes Commotion, Speculation, Uncertainty


           Early last Friday morning, FBI agents raided the homes and legislative offices of a number of prominent legislators and staff members, including former Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) and Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixon), leaving with boxes full of items. Newly-elected representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill) also had his home searched, as did Casada’s former Chief of Staff.  While speculation has been high, details and solid information have been slow to come. Officials have only revealed that there is an ongoing FBI investigation, but the nature of the investigation and the expected timeline have not been revealed.  Speaker Sexton has placed those legislative staff members that were subject to search warrants under administrative leave, and reminded the public that the raid was “just the start of the investigation and the process, and not the end. Today does not necessarily imply guilt.”  Governor Lee characterized the situation as “certainly very concerning.  I know very little about that.  There’s been no FBI outreach to us but I am confident that Speaker Sexton is on top of this situation as it unfolds.” 


Looking Ahead


           The General Assembly quickly wrapped up their organizational session this week and transitioned into regular session to take up, consider, and pass legislation, with a focus on the anticipated approval of legislation involving Tennessee’s Medicaid block grant waiver.  Next week, the General Assembly will conduct business under the call of the special session and is expected to conclude their work by the end of next week. It is anticipated that the General Assembly will recess for two weeks and reconvene for regular session the week of February 8th. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. Have a great weekend.    





KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – Fraley and Schilling announces a groundbreaking ceremony on November 17th, 2020,
at 10:00 a.m. for their newest terminal building in Knoxville, TN. This terminal building will be located on
Saddlerack Street, just off I-40 exit 398, Strawberry Plains Pike.

The new Knoxville terminal building will be the largest in the company at approximately 11,600 square
feet. With the additional space, F&S will expand their footprint in the Knoxville market, bringing an
estimated 100 additional jobs to the Knoxville market over the next 5 years.

“We have been privileged to be a member of the Knoxville community since 2010. Our Knoxville office has
been the fastest growing in the company, and this additional space will enable us to further invest in the
future of many families in the Knoxville area,” said F&S President Chris Seals.

Fraley and Schilling is a trucking and logistics provider, specializing in lightweight equipment for hauling
heavy products such as tin for Bush Beans and aluminum for Arconic. Beginning in 1955, F&S has become
an industry leader in utilizing lightweight equipment to move essential goods across the United States.
Employing over 700 people nationwide, with over 250 employed in the Knoxville area, F&S continues to
grow. Fraley and Schilling was also named one of Knoxville’s Top Workplaces in 2019.

The groundbreaking will take place at 10:00 a.m. on November 17th, 2020 at 7240 Saddlerack Street
Knoxville, TN 37914.



ATA – Safety, Security and HR National Conference


ATA’s Safety Management Council’s and Transportation Security Council’s Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference (SSHR) is going to be held virtually November 30 – December 4. This is the only conference in the country that features three main educational tracks dedicated to safety, security and human resources best practices as well as valuable general sessions. Our attendees learn the latest regulatory developments and interpretations and share their perspectives with peers and advocates. Take the information learned during your participation in the SSHR conference back to your company to help plan for new trends or changes happening in the industry and to improve your operations. Learn more at https://sshr.trucking.org/

Exceptional Educational Program

Every year they prepare an outstanding program that addresses the challenges you face day-to-day and helps you to learn the latest in your profession. This year’s program will cover topics such as:

  • SMC Nuclear Verdicts Series
  • Future Safety & Security Technology
  • CBD Use, State Marijuana Legalization & Hemp Transport
  • Fraud, Fictitious Pick-ups, Pilferage and Broken Seals
  • Physical Ability Testing Legal Challenges
  • Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

NEW THIS YEAR – Learn How to Protect Your Company From Rising Legal Threats

This year, one of the main areas of emphasis at the Safety, Security, and Human Resources National Conference will be a nuclear verdicts series. Through the “real world” elements that we are bringing to this year’s program fleets can learn strategies they can use to protect themselves from lawsuits involving truck accidents.

The series will provide you with first-hand insights from past real-life failed legal experiences by fleets and practical steps you can take right now to avoid them. The topics to be covered during the series include:

  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – The Nuclear Age
  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – The Detonators
  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – Witness Preparation
  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – Pre Litigation
  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – Jury Perspectives
  • Trucking in the Nuclear Age – Denuclearization by Litigation

SHRM Credits – attend and earn 5 Professional development credits in the HR Track and Credits towards your “Certified Director of Safety (CDS) and Certified Safety Supervisor (CSS)!

Be at the Forefront of Regulation – our attendees learn the latest regulatory developments and interpretations and share their perspective with other peers and advocates. Take the information learned during your participation in the SSHR conference back to your company to help plan for new trends or changes happening in the industry and to improve your operations.

Low Cost to Attend – the virtual conference registration rates are over 50% less than the cost of in-person meeting registration! When coupled with the savings from not having to travel to attend a conference, you are getting a tremendous value. Investing in your career, improving your safety & security operations and gaining crucial insight on the dynamic world of legislation and regulation has never been an easier decision to make!




2023 Raffle Tickets are now on sale! Raffle tickets are $75 each and only 1,000 will be sold! There will be three lucky winners. The first prize sponsored by Titan Transfer, Inc. will be $15,000 and the second prize sponsored by Goggin Warehousing, LLC will be $5,000  and third prize of $3,500 sponsored by TCW You can either go to this link, call the TTA Office at (615) 777-2882, or email cfoster@tntrucking.org to purchase your tickets.

The drawing will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at the TTA office in Nashville. You do not have to be present to win! We can call the lucky winners!

The sale will continue at the TTA Annual Convention with the Road Team Captains’ ticket sales contest.  For every 10 tickets a Road Team Captain sells, they will receive one free ticket for themselves.  If you have a favorite Road Team Captain you would like to support, you can call the TTA Office at (615) 777-2882 to purchase tickets and let us know which Road Team Captain you would like to credit them to or you can purchase them during our Annual Convention and credit them to your favorite Captain. If you would like to purchase your tickets at the link above, there is a place for notes where you can enter the name of your favorite Captain if you choose to help with the contest at the bottom of the payment page. Tickets purchased will be mailed out weekly.  

(To help cover the cost of processing payments, we add a fee of 3.5% for credit cards. This fee is not more than the cost of accepting these cards.   There is no fee for debit cards.)

Raffle proceeds benefit the Tennessee Trucking Foundation’s Highway Safety Education Programs: Tennessee’s Road Team and Teens & Trucks Share the Road Training Program! The Foundation needs your help to make our 9th Annual Cash Raffle a rousing success!

Disclaimer: Tennessee Trucking Foundation Board Members and their immediate family members cannot purchase raffle tickets or win prizes!





Our Young Professionals Council had a great time serving Breakfast from 5:30-7:30 AM on Saturday, August 8th at the Nashville Rescue Mission Men’s Campus! We are very proud and thankful for their continued volunteer work.

The Nashville Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered community committed to helping the hungry, homeless, and hurting by providing programs and services that focus on a person’s entire life. Established in 1954, the Mission first opened its doors to provide food, clothing, and shelter to homeless men in Nashville. To learn about volunteer opportunities, click here.


The Southeast TN Council held another virtual meeting today, 7-28-2020, in place of our in-person meetings. We had 25 participants join on the meeting.

The presenter for this meeting was Joseph Sentef MD, MPH, MBA, MRO, the Chief Medical Officer for the FMCSA and Chief MRO for CMS. He is also a longstanding Chattanooga area physician.  He has been in Washington DC for nearly two years trying to help the trucking industry.  He was able to present general information about FMCSA updates on topics such as Sleep Apnea, Hair and Oral Drug Testing, and Clearinghouse trends.

Two interesting facts to note that the presentation kicked off with:

  • University of Central Arkansas verified the Trucking Alliance Study showing 275,000 (about 8.5%) drivers would fail the hair testing.
  • Oral Fluid testing will give you results within one hour, which made these tests a favorite of Mr. Joseph Sentef over urine tests.

Joseph Sentef was able to cover a large amount of information regarding sleep apnea as well as answer many questions from our participants. We really appreciate the time he took out of his day to meet and talk with us! 

Eston Pyle, Chairman

Matt Holmes, Vice Chairman

Grady Phillips, Secretary


The Southeast TN Council continued to have virtual Zoom meetings today, 6/23/2020, in replacement of our typical in-person meetings.

This month’s meeting was a discussion on items such as, the New Hour of Service Rules, Cameras and FMCSA Audits. Matt Holmes, Southern Champion Tray and Kevin Galbreath, Galbreath Consulting Services will be discussing some of these items. We also had time for everyone to share what they are doing and/or ask questions of the group.

Other topics discussed include what issues are being faced with ELD systems, and facility parking availability, unforeseen circumstances with the New Hours of Service Rules.


Eston Pyle, Chairman

Matt Holmes, Vice Chairman

Grady Phillips, Secretary


TENNESSEE – June 1, 2020 – The Tennessee Trucking Association was honored to show our appreciation to truck drivers on Friday, May 29, 2020. We partnered with AAA’s Thank A Driver Campaign and helped hand out goody bags to the amazing truckers that stopped by the Lebanon, TN Pilot truck stop. The goody bags contained a bottle of hand sanitizer, AAA hats, pen, keychain, lens cloth, and a free drink coupon to any Pilot location!


“It is so important, especially now, that we thank our essential truck drivers. All across America, these men and women are working day and night to stock our store shelves, deliver medical equipment to hospitals, and so much more. So, from everyone at the Tennessee Trucking Association to the truckers of America, we appreciate you” says Donna England.


We wanted to give Pilot a public thank you for allowing us to honor these drivers at their location! Thank you to AAA for providing the goody bags.


For more information about the TTA, please visit tntrucking.org.


# # #


The Southeast TN Council was excited to have our first virtual Zoom meeting today, 5/19/2020, in replacement of our typical in-person meetings.

This month’s meeting was a Panel Discussion on Back to Work Strategies, Onboarding New Drivers, Recruiting Efforts, and New Hour of Service Rules and what they mean to us. Moderator Donna England, TTA. Panelist, Dave Huneryager, TTA, Lindy Henley, Tranco, Grady Phillips, CMS and Jeremy Reymer, DriverReach.

We were able to cover many COVID-19 highlights and questions answered by our panelists. Some key takeaways of this meeting included Dave Huneryager’s advice for what the TTA is doing during COVID-19. He states that we communicate, communicate, communicate. When it comes to COVID-19, every single resource that we can use and get information from, it’s our responsibility to get that out to our members. We will get out the best and the most up to date info out to you.

Grady Phillips also says the CDC guidelines “Do’s” for COVID-19 include social distancing, wearing masks, practicing good hygiene, and proactively encouraging employees not feeling well to work remotely. Wearing masks stops you from spreading the virus through water droplets. “The only real “Don’t” of COVID-19 he discusses, is Don’t NOT have a policy. Companies need a policy for the employees to go by during this pandemic.”

Other topics discussed included the FMCSA’s clearinghouse, the rise in TN crash fatalities, drug testing of employees during COVID-19, taking temperatures of employees, the difficulties of hiring / drivers getting their CDL’s during COVID-19, ELD’s, etc. The Southeast TN Council was pleased to still be able to carry on our meetings among this pandemic and look forward to our future meetings and discussions.

Eston Pyle, Chairman

Matt Holmes, Vice Chairman

Grady Phillips, Secretary



WHAT IS THE BIG PAYBACK?  The Big Payback is an exciting 24-hour window when Middle Tennessee comes together to contribute to the life-changing work of local nonprofit organizations. It was created by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as a way to increase philanthropy in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and to galvanize the community to “give back” in a big way. This giving day shines a spotlight on LOCAL giving and creates a new sense of energy around generosity. Click here for information about the Big Payback.

We will make sure this  link is live at 06:00 PM on Tuesday, May 6, 2020!  Ask your friends and family to donate as well.  All the donations will go toward the Foundation to support our Road Team, Teens and Trucks and the scholarship fund for Juniors and Seniors attending Tennessee colleges.  The date this year is May 6, 2020.  Last year we only raised $8,560 through this Community Foundation one-day event. We can do better than that!! As little as a $10-dollar pledge from each of you will make a huge difference and allow our Foundation to provide more scholarships and reach more of your young drivers in an effort to save teen lives in Tennessee.

Thank you for your interest in giving to Tennessee Trucking Foundation (TTF). We could not continue the important work we are doing without the generous donations of individuals and companies, and donations of all sizes are appreciated.

If you prefer to make a donation directly to the Foundation at any time, you can make a donation by cash, check or credit card, please call 615-777-2882 or mail a check made payable to Tennessee Trucking Foundation to:

Tennessee Trucking Foundation
4531 Trousdale Dr.
Nashville, TN 37204


TENNESSEE – April 9, 2020 – The Tennessee Trucking Association proudly announces $11 thousand in grant funds to support the Teens & Trucks Highway Safety Education Program graciously funded by State Farm. Funds will be used to purchase pedal karts for use with Fatal Vision impairment goggles at teen events across the state.  

State Farm is the largest home and auto insurance provider in the U.S. and holds a mission to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. For 98 years, State Farm has been committed to giving back in their communities where they live and work. State Farm’s values support building safer, stronger, and better educated communities. State Farm certainly are good neighbors always lending a helping hand (www.statefarm.com).

“Our thanks to State Farm for their consistent, ongoing support of our Foundation’s Road Team Captains! The funds they contribute allow our Captains to educate Tennesseans of all ages on how to safely share the roads with commercial vehicles,” said TTA’s President and CEO Dave Huneryager. “We sincerely appreciate you, State Farm!”