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.
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.