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
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
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
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
Important New Email
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
and Rep. Ferguson and Rep. Matlock.
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?
- Select "Legislation" then "Bill Search" from the
navigation bar above.
- Search for bill by number or keyword.
- 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
- 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