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Tennessee Legislature kicks off Second Half of 110th General Assembly

 

Written by Curtis Johnson
Tennessee State Representative

Tennessee State Representative - District 68Nashville, TN – The Second Regular Session of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly officially convened this week in Nashville, with lawmakers gathering to continue the work they were elected to perform by the people of Tennessee.

This kick off by the state legislature marks the 26th time that the General Assembly has met in a Second Regular Session, the first time being 1968 with the 85th General Assembly.

The practice of meeting every other year was proposed to be changed by the 1965 Limited Constitutional Convention, and was officially approved by voters on November 8th, 1966.

110th Tennessee General Assembly

110th Tennessee General Assembly

The change took effect with the 85th General Assembly, with the legislature meeting in both odd and even numbered years since that time.

The bill filing deadline for this year has been set for Thursday, February 1st, meaning all proposals, except bills of local application, must be filed by that deadline in order to be considered in the 2018 legislative session.

House Republicans Set 2018 Legislative Agenda

As the 2018 legislative session officially begins, House Republicans have an array of issues on the table to be discussed and debated in Nashville.

The work for 2018 will build on last year’s momentum and accomplishments that saw the passage of a fiscally conservative balanced budget, tax cuts for all Tennesseans, investments in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, drastic improvements in education, and multiple pieces of legislation to help invigorate Tennessee’s private sector.

This year, House Republicans will focus on the state’s ongoing opioid and drug epidemic which claimed the lives of more than 1,600 Tennesseans in 2016 alone. Following the work of the Tennessee House Ad Hoc Task Force on Opioid Abuse, Republican lawmakers begin the second half of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly with official recommendations that will help shape legislative initiatives related to the state’s opioid problems.

Republicans will also focus on welfare reform in 2018, including building on new initiatives that reinstate the work requirement for able-bodied adults who rely on the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for assistance.  By reinstituting work requirements, approximately 58,000 able-bodied adults without dependents across Tennessee who are not currently meeting the work requirement but still receive assistance will now be able to capitalize on an overabundance of jobs in order to secure meaningful employment.

Additionally, House members will work to reform the state’s juvenile justice system.  Last fall, the Joint Ad Hoc Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice released its findings following an exhaustive study of the state’s current system.  The overall goal of the task force was to shrink the number of nonviolent youths placed out of their homes and in turn save incarceration costs for the state.

Finally, House Republicans remain committed this year to supporting legislation that will further advance Tennessee as an attractive destination for businesses and families.

Under GOP leadership, Tennessee saw record low unemployment rates in 2017. As of December, statewide unemployment was 3.1 percent — a full percentage point lower than the national average. These statistics are in addition to the nearly 400,000 net new private sector jobs that have been created in Tennessee since Republicans took control of the legislature in 2011.

New Representatives Join Tennessee General Assembly

As part of the opening week ceremonies of session, three new members of the General Assembly were officially welcomed into the body. The three new members include:

State Representative Kevin Vaughan (R–Collierville), who was elected during a special election in the summer of 2017 after the conclusion of the first half of the 2017-2018 General Assembly.

State Representative Jerome Moon (R–Maryville), appointed to the House by the Blount County Commission to fill the remaining term of former State Representative Art Swann, who now serves in the State Senate.

State Representative Clark Boyd (R–Lebanon), who was appointed to the House by the Wilson County Commission following the election of Mark Pody to the State Senate.

General Assembly Moves Into New Office Space

The General Assembly moved into the newly renovated Cordell Hull Building, allowing each member to have his/her own office.  Originally constructed in 1952 and named for Tennessean, Cordell Hull, the longest serving Secretary of State in the nation and the first Tennessean to win the Nobel Peace Prize. 

The November 2017 move to the new building allows all legislative offices to be in one building.  New committee rooms for both the House and Senate are located on the first floor of the building.  A new tunnel was constructed to connect the Cordell Hull Building to the State Capitol.  Each member’s office has a window. 

The building had been plagued with water damage and mold.  However, with the replacement of all the windows, a new roof, an electric generator and new plumbing and electrical, those problems should be in the past.  

Contact Information

Rep. Curtis Johnson
606 Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN  37243

615.741.4341

rep.curtis.johnson@capitol.tn.gov

For more information about the Tennessee General Assembly, check our website at www.capitol.tn.gov


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