106th General Assembly Session – Bold Changes & New Look

 

By: Pat Hunter

January 13, 2009

 

New Year brings new changes; Speakers in Senate & House!

The Tennessee General Assembly is back in session. This past election brought about some big changes not only to our federal government but also to state government. This includes a Republican majority in both the house and senate. Ron Ramsey was voted in as the first Republican speaker in the Senate.

 

In a move that caught Republicans off guard, all 49 Democrats voted Kent Williams, a Carter County Republican, new speaker to the House. Williams also voted for himself putting him over the top of rival Republican Jason Mumpower who was set to replace long-time Democrat speaker Jimmy Naife until the surprise upset. Later, Lois Deberry, Democrat was re-elected as speaker pro-tempore in a 50 to 49 margin with the help of 49 Democrats and Kent Williams. What’s the old saying, politics make strange bed fellows?

 

Another critical vote is set for Wednesday (Jan 14). According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Earlier Monday, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses met in joint session and voted by secret ballot to nominate Justin Wilson, a one-time deputy governor, as their choice for comptroller.” The current comptroller is John Morgan. Wednesday’s vote will also select candidates for treasurer and secretary of state. Other Republican nominations besides Wilson include Tre Hargett for secretary of state and David Lillard for treasurer. 

 

New revamped Website:

Another change to the General Assembly is a completely revamped website. The website may be located at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/

 

The Tennessee Legislature website is now more user-friendly and informative.  One neat feature is that we can learn about a state representative or senator’s list of legislative bills and resolutions. Under each legislative name you can now look up “Sponsored bill lists, Bills co-sponsored, Resolutions Sponsored, and Resolutions Co-Sponsored.” In the past, it was time consuming to try to look up bills of certain legislators but now you will be able to see the “Sponsored bills list” of each legislator at a glance to see who is sponsoring what bill.

 

Another new feature is the personalized bill tracking feature. “My Bills provides personalized bill tracking and RSS notification for current Tennessee Legislation.” This will allow you to “Create up to three lists of bills to track and modify them at any time. Track up to 10 bills on each list. View the legislative status of your bills and see items with significant current action highlighted for you. Log in to get daily updates. Get an RSS feed of major actions for bills on your list, such as when it passes in committee or when it's adopted. Keep the same lists until the end of the biennial legislative session.”

 

Important New Email Changes:

 

Please note new e-mail addresses for all state representatives and senators. I have updated The Hunter Report Elected Officials Directory to reflect new e-mail addresses for Senator McNally and Rep. Ferguson and Rep. Matlock.

 

Voting Records

 

One feature of interest is to see the voting record of each state representative and senator, located on the right hand side of the website with easy to follow instructions.

"How can I see how someone voted?

  1. Select "Legislation" then "Bill Search" from the navigation bar above.
  2. Search for bill by number or keyword.
  3. The search results will show you the bill status page. The bill status page displays the bill summary, fiscal notes, amendments, bill history, and votes if there has been a vote.
  4. Click on "Votes" to see every vote taken on that bill, including subcommittee, full committee and floor votes.
  • If a member wishes to be recorded differently than the prevailing vote, this will be noted. In this case, you may see: "Voice Vote, Ayes Prevail. Member(s) noted as voting to the contrary of the voice vote conclusion: Smith."
  • Or: "Voice Vote, Ayes Prevail. Member(s) noted as voting to the contrary of the voice vote conclusion: Smith. Members noted as Present Not Voting: Taylor."
  • If a roll call vote was taken, each committee or subcommittee member's vote is recorded and tallied."

 

Please visit the General Assembly website and learn more about the process and the people that you help elect to represent you and how they help to create Tennessee’s laws, which affect you and your quality of life. 

 

 

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01-13-09

Revised 01-24-09